| Alba Berlin made it to the Eurocup Finals! Alba managed to make it to the finals by downing Hapoel Jerusalem 72-59 in the second leg of the Eurocup Quarterfinals in front of 14,500 fans at the O2 World in the German capital on Wednesday. Alba won the series on points differential and reached a European club competition semifinal for the first time since winning the Korac Cup title in 1995. Derrick Byars paced the winners with 16 points. Adam Chubb added 14 - 10 in the fourth quarter - Rashad Wright had 12 while Immanuel McElroy got 11 for Alba, that was without scoring ace Julius Jenkins. Pooh Jeter led Hapoel with 19 points. Tre Simmons added 10 for the guests. Kevinn Pinkney sank an early three-pointer, but Alba shined early in defense and found a go-to guy in Byars, who had 10 points in a 20-4 run that gave Alba a 20-7 margin at the end of the first quarter. Hapoel improved its defense and found a go-to guy in Thompson, that got some help from Jeter and Brandon Hunter to make the guests tie the series, 26-20. Blagota Sekulic and McElroy allowed Alba to get a 36-28 margin at halftime. Three-pointers by Dragan Dojcin, Byars, Wright and Steffen Hamann made Alba get a 52-37 margin after 30 minutes. Jeter singlehandedly brought Hapoel back to the series, 63-55, but an outstanding Chubb stepped up in crunch time to make all Alba fans celebrate a historical win.
Pinkney got Hapoel going with a three-pointer but a six-meter jumper by Wright and free throws by McElroy soon gave Alba its first lead, 4-3. Hapoel tried to
use long possessions from the very beginning but struggled to find open shots. Meanwhile, Byars struck from downtown and a step-back jumper by McElroy tied
the series, 9-3, after a 9-0 run. Alba entered the foul bonus midway through the first quarter and Hunter dunked it off a high post pick. Byars kept pacing
Alba with back-to-back mid-range jumpers to give Alba the lead in the series, 13-5. Jeter fed Pinkney for a power layup but Sekulic scored in the low post
and an unstopable Byars buried a three-pointer to boost the hosts' lead to double digits, 18-7. Hapoel kept struggling to score and an uncontested layup by
Sekulic made it a 13-point game, 20-7, after 10 minutes. Simmons sank a jumper early in the second quarter, as Hapoel improved its defense and tried to open the floor with Sharon Shason at power forward. Dijon Thompson found his first points one a six-meter jumper that brought the guests within 20-11. Lucca Staiger, on court for the first time in a Eurocup game, struck from downtown but Hunter scored in the paint and Jeter added an acrobatic layup to make the hosts call timeout at 23-15. Hapoel had entered the foul bonus and could not play with the same intensity now. Yuval Naimy and Philip Zwiener traded layups and Simmons nailed a seven-meter bomb to tie the series, 26-20. Chubb stepped up with a backdoor layup and Wright sank free throws for a 30-20 Alba lead. McElroy scored in penetration but Hunter and Simmons got Hapoel within 32-24. McElroy kept pacing Alba with a floating jumper and Sekulic scored in transition to force Hapoel to call timeout at 36-24. Jeter sank a triple and split free throws to get Hapoel within 36-28 at halftime.
Dojcin nailed a three-pointer immediately after the break, as Alba played with better intensity in defense. Hapoel went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Naimy struck from downtown for a 39-31 deficit. Byars took over with his third triple, as Alba kept dominating the game with outstanding defense, forcing Hapoel to get off-balance shot at the end of each possession. Hapoel struggled to find a go-to guy and a layup by McElroy forced the guests to call timeout at 44-31. Naimy tried to change things with a big three-pointer, as Hapoel tried twin point guards with him and Yogav Ohayon together on court. Chubb scored down low and Wright buried a three-pointer to boost Alba's lead to 49-35. Thompson made free throws but a three-pointer by Hamann made it a 15-point game, 52-37, after 30 minutes. Pinkney stepped up with a backdoor layup early in the fourth quarter and Jeter added a corner triple to bring Hapoel back to life, 52-42. Chubb got the crowd involved with a layup that Simmons bettered with a three-pointer. Byars provided a highlight with a three-point play but a jumper by Jeter kept Hapoel within 57-47. Hamann sank free throws that Thompson erased with a layup in transition, good for a 59-49 score with over 4 minutes left. Chubb kept pacing Alba with back-to-back layups that Jeter matched with 4-of-4 free throws, but Hapoel only managed to trade baskets now. Jeter shined with a fast break layup, however, to get Hapoel within 63-55 with 2 minutes left. Chubb hit free throws and added a critical layup to seal the outcome of the series, 69-57, with 41.6 seconds left. Hapoel kept trying but all Alba fans at the O2 World were already celebrating that their team had sealed its ticket to the Eurocup Finals!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010