Italian championship now within Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia's grasp
Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia held on to beat Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari 71-67 on Monday for a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Italian League finals. Game 6 is on Wednesday in which a Reggio Emilia victory would hand the club its first Italian league title, while a Sassari win would send the series to a deciding Game 7. The series winner claims a B-license entry to the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season. Ojars Silins led the Reggio Emilia attack with 14 points, Achille Polonara posted 13 points and 10 rebounds and Rimantas Kaukenas and Amdeo Della Valle scored 10 points apiece for the winners. Silins and Della Valle combined for 10 points in a 12-0 run that bridged the first and second quarters to put the hosts up 27-15. Sassari closed the gap to 38-31 by halftime before Rakim Sanders’s layup capped a 0-13 charge that started late in the second quarter and gave the visitors a 38-39 edge. Reggio Emilia regained the lead and went into the fourth quarter ahead 52-51. After a quick start to the quarter from Sassari’s Shane Lawal, Reggio Emilia tied it at 55-55 on Polonara’s high-flying fast break slam and after a timeout, Riccardo Cervi’s tip in put the hosts on top. Andrea Cinciarini assisted Cervi on a slam that made it 63-57 with three and a half minutes to go and capped an 11-2 run. Threes by Edgar Sosa and Sanders kept Sassari in the fight at 65-63 with two minutes remaining. It all came down to the final seconds when Sassari’s Jerome Dyson was called for an offensive foul and Cinciarini iced the game from the line. Sanders paced Sassari with 19 points, while Lawal dominated the paint with 17 points and 21 rebounds.
Hapoel Jerusalem takes big lead in Israeli League finals
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem took a giant step toward what could be the first Israeli League championship in club history with a 65-80 road win over Hapoel Fattal Eilat in Game 1 of their two-game total points series. Jerusalem will celebrate on Thursday if it wins Game 2 at home or loses by fewer than 14 points. Bracey Wright scored 18 points and Deon Thompson tallied 17 and 7 rebounds to lead five Jerusalem scorers in double figures. Tony Gaffney added 13 points and 3 blocks, Lior Eliyahu had 12 points and 7 assists and Yotam Halperin scored 11 for the team from the Israeli capital. The game was close early; Wright’s jumper gave Jerusalem a 22-25 lead after 10 minutes. Eilat lost forward Kevin Palmer for good to a shoulder injury a minute into the second quarter. Wright’s hot hand boosted the visitors to 28-36, but Afik Nissim rallied the hosts to within 3. Thompson restored a promising 36-44 edge to Jerusalem at halftime. Bar Timor’s floater to start the second half gave Jerusalem its first double-digit lead. The same player finished a fast break that pushed the difference to 40-55. Eilat fought back to within 8 led by Adrian Uter, but Wright’s free throw and a Gaffney rejection left Jerusalem ahead 52-64 through three quarters. Halperin put Jerusalem up 16 with a three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter. The largest difference was 60-78 on Gaffney’s alley-oop layup with two minutes to go as Jerusalem coasted to victory. Uter ld Eilat with 16 points and 8 rebounds, Brian Asbury netted 14 points and Elishay Kadir posted 13 points, 8 boards and 5 assists in defeat.