Two minutes of great inspiration for Olimpija and two minutes of total lack of ideas for Hapoel. That is how this exciting game was sealed before 3,000 loyal fans who didn?t stop cheering their team during the entire 40 minutes. In these two crucial minutes, the Slovenians hit a 0-10 run, from 71-72 in minute 36, with two free throws sunk by Udrich, a three-pointer by Gomeac, and a 3-point play plus a field goal by Arsic. This run was fatal for the Israelis. Blackwell, the best home player tonight, was fouled out in minute 37 and that made things much easier for Olimpija. Blackwell, together with Dorsey and Rankin, formed a killer trio from beyond the 6,25 arc, hitting 6-of-6 that maintained the game tight until the last minutes. Hapoel took advantage of Golemac's third foul in minute 15, when he abandoned the court, to build a lead of 32-24, but Slavko Kotnik came off the bench and Zmago Sagadin's team managed to make its way into the game again. Kotnik posted 7 points in a row and from then on, Olimpija took control of the game, but never with a lead greater than 5 points. The experience of some of the Slovenian players turned out decisive in the final moments. "I'm very happy. It is very difficult to win with this kind of atmosphere. We played great in the last quarter and the players took the pressure very well", said Zmago Sagadin after the game. Zvi Sherf, Hapoel2s head coach, acknowledged Olimpija's better game: "My players might have been nervous because of their debut before their fans in the Euroleague, but Olimpija played a great game and showed all their quality".
Thursday, November 09, 2000