| Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem earned its debut win in the Eurocup campaign with an 89-76 victory over BC Siauliai in Goldberg Arena in Jerusalem on Tuesday night. Hapoel will look to double its win total in Group C when it travels to Greece to face Aris next week, while Siauliai will seek its first win at home against KK Zadar. Hapoel lead from start to finish, but experienced a roller-coaster throughout the entire game as the gap jumped from 2 to 12 time after time. A late 10-2 run led by Dijon Thompson decided the game and allowed the safe margin at the buzzer. Thompson finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists followed by Tre Simmons with 19 points and 7 boards. Kevinn Pinkney added 15 points and 7 rebounds and Pooh Jeter finished his debut game with the club with 10 points. Derrick Low led Siauliai with 20 points, Brandon Brown added 14 and 11 rebounds and Arvydas Siksnius had 11. The visiting side scored just a single three-pointer in seven attempts in the first quarter, but until the final buzzer added 10 more in 21 attempts to make difficult Hapoel's night, but 19 turnovers against only 10 for the local team decided the match.
Hapoel went with its bigs from the tip as Pinkney and Leo Lyons combined for 8 of the first 10 points from the tip. An alley-oop play from Simmons to Lyons set the score at 12-9 to fire up the first run of the game, 10-0 in favor of the host and set the difference at 20-9 a minute before the first-quarter buzzer. Siauliai connected twice underneath, but Hapoel remained on top. After long minutes of struggling from long distance, both sides got their sights synced. Jeter and Yuval Naimy for Hapoel and Brown for Siauliai met the net to maintain a status-quo. The visiting side used second chance points and tough defense to move closer, 37-31, but the all-around game of Thompson with points, rebounds and assists set it back on double-digits, 41-31 at the break.
A sleepy start by Hapoel to the second half saw the margin reduce to 46-43 before Thompson and Simmons hit from the arc and Jeter stepped up his defense on the passing lanes. Before Hapoel took off, the Lithuanians found the path back once more. Veteran Mindaugas Zukauskas and Low narrowed it down to just 57-55 inside the last minute of the third, but Brandon Hunter hit a follow-up and added a bonus from the line to set the score on 62-57 entering the deciding quarter. Deividas Gailius wrote a four point play and Siksnius added a massive dunk to make sure Hapoel won't get too far, but Thompson felt it's time to take action. He scored three points added four rebounds and a single steal to carry a quick 6-0 run and mark another ten point lead, 73-63. Low was ready with an answer with back-to-back three balls cutting the margin back to four with 4:30 to play in the night. With pressure now on Hapoel's side it was time for Thompson and Simmons to step up and lead a 10-2 run to decide the night. Thompson cut twice to the rim from the left side for great finishes, and pushed the gap to 83-71.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009