Telindus Oostende gave interim head coach Umberto Badioli a welcome present with a hard-fought 87-88 road win over Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem on Tuesday night at Malha Arena in the Israeli capital. Rashad Wright scored 25 points and Elvir Ovcina added 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Belgian champs joined a four-way tie for second place in Group C with a 2-2 record. Hapoel meanwhile, fell to 1-3 in the group cellar. Oostende, playing its first game since coach Mihailo Uvalin was dismissed, led for the vast majority of the game and was accurate from the line in the closing seconds to secure the win. Vanja Plisnic added 15 points, Lavor Postell 12 and Guy Muya 11 for Oostende. Mario Austin and Timmy Bowers had 21 points each to lead Hapoel, while Meir Tapiro scored 16 and added 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Jurica Golemac put Hapoel on the board first with a pair from the line and Matan Naor and Tapiro carried Hapoel to an early 7-4 lead, but Oostende never wavered. Wright tied the game from behind the arc and his second three-pointer put the visitors on top for the first time, 9-12 after five minutes. Austin scored his first points, but Oostende replied with another three pointer, by Ovcina, and two from the line by Wright to take a 13-19 lead. Another three from Wright made it 15-24 for the visiting side before Erez Marckovich brought Jerusalem within 7 at the first-period buzzer. Austin and Bowers tried to get Hapoel back, but Oostende dominated the offensive glass and didn't allow the hosts to get closer than 4 points. Austin finally got Hapoel going with a three-point play midway through the period, cutting the margin to 28-30 and forcing Eric Hicks to the bench with 3 fouls. Plisnic forced Hapoel to take a timeout with a tough two, but 2 more points by Dror Hagag and Bowers kept Hapoel only 2 points shy entering the last minute. However Oostende made one last effort and Postell sent the teams to the locker rooms with the score 36-41 at halftime.
Tapiro scored 5 early points early in the third, but Oostende stayed on top behind points from Postell and Wright. Austin tied the score with 5 points in a row and then finally put Hapoel on top again, but Ovcina tied the game once again from behind the arc, 48-48, with 6:30 to play. Muya made a tough layup and two from the line to put the visiting side 4 points up again. After Austin and Ovcina exchanged three-pointers, Oostende still held a 51-55 lead entering the last three minutes of the third. Tamar Slay drilled one from the three-point line, but it was Ovcina again coming through to match it. Then Wright scored and Sam Van Rossom popped in a three-point shot to make it 61-65 after 30 minutes. Bowers kept Hapoel close, but Muya kept the lead with the visiting team. Postell and Muya increased the cushion to 8, but Hapoel replied with a 7-0 run. However Naor and Hagag fouled out, damaging the locals' hopes. Plisnic made a key three-pointer and an Ed Cota turnover followed. Then a mid-range fadeaway from Wright made it 75-81 with two minutes to play. Guy Pnini came off the bench and drilled a three-pointer and on the following play Austin missed a layup and Wright made it 78-83 from the line. Tapiro missed a last-ditch three and Plisnic sealed the game from the line 78-85. Tapiro nailed a three-pointer and Hapoel went to the line down 84-88, with less than 2 seconds to play. Pnini made the first and intentionally missed the second, but Austin, who got the offensive board, made a short two that wasn't enough.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006