Hapoel Jerusalem used its balanced offense to hold off CEZ Basketball Nymburk 94-84 on Wednesday, becoming the third team to qualify for the semifinals of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds at Sleuyter Arena in Ostend, Belgium. Jerusalem next plays either Unics Kazan or Stelmet Zielona Gora. Taking control of the contest in the second quarter with Bracey Wright leading the way, Jerusalem was running well on the fast break, and dominating in the paint on the offensive end, as it put together a 16-2 run for 44-29 advantage. In the third quarter margin reached 23 points after a 19-2 run and a string of points from Joseph Jones, but Nymburk rallied behind Tre Simmons. His triples at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter fueled a 5-21 spurt, and got the Czech champion within 77-71. But that’s as close as Nymburk managed, with Wright, Tony Gaffney and Lior Eliyahu pushing the margin back to double-digits before Jerusalem closed out the game. Wright finished with 22 points, leading six scorers in double figures. Jones had 16 points plus 8 rebounds, Derwin Kitchen had 15 points, Donta Smith scored 14, Gaffney added 13, and Eliyahu contributed with 12. For Nymburk, Simmons scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, and Darius Washington also scored 18 while dishing 10 assists. Radoslav Rancik scored 15, and Jiri Welsch added 10 as Nymburk will play in Eurocup this season.
Both teams came out firing offensively. Jerusalem opened up 11-4 lead often going inside, with Jones scoring a pair of baskets, and Kitchen making in a basket-plus-foul. But Nymburk got it going through Rancik inside, and Washington from the distance for 13-11. A layup from Petr Benda tied the game at 16-16, but a basket from Wright and coast-to-coast layup from Smith helped Jerusalem hold 24-21 lead after 10 minutes. Washington and Pavel Houska brought Nymburk within a single point early in the second quarter, but Wright hit a jumper and a triple to spark big spurt from Hapoel Jerusalem. Smith drove for a layup, Wright added a basket-plus-foul, and more close range baskets from Gaffney and Kitchen made it 44-29. Before the end of the quarter, Rancik scored 6 points for Nymburk, and with baskets from Vojtech Hruban and Welsch, cut the deficit to 48-39 at halftime.
At the start of the third quarter, Washington and Welsch cut the deficit to 50-44, but Wright, Smith and Eliyahu quickly brought the margin back into the double figures. Jones continued the run, stringing together 9 straight points capped with a basket-plus-foul, before Kitchen made it 69-46. Rancik made a pair of foul shots to snap a 19-2 spurt, before Simmons hit back-to-back three-pointers, to make it 72-56 after three quarters. Nymburk continued to rally in the fourth, helped by a put-back from Martin Kriz, and Washington scored a layup-plus free throw to get Nymburk within 73-63. A hustle on the offensive glass paid off for the Czech champion, with Simmons scoring second chance baskets, including another one from long range to close the deficit to 77-71 with over 5 minutes to go. Wright’s driving layup snapped Nymburk’s run, before Gaffney nailed a jumper and Eliyahu added a hook-shot to make it 83-71. Simmons hit his fourth triple and also buried a long jumper for Nymburk, before Washington raced for a fastbreak layup, 85-78 with 71 seconds to go. But Jerusalem hit a series of foul shots to avoid any drama at the end.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014