KK Zadar stormed back into the battle for a Last 16 berth by walloping Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem 86-69 on Tuesday, but the visitors can take solace in the fact that they kept the potential tiebreak advantage between the two teams. Hapoel had beaten Zadar by 19 last week in the Israeli capital and then trailed by 24 early in the fourth quarter this week, but a strong finish by Yuval Naimy and Pooh Jeter's free throws allowed Jerusalem to minimize the damage and earn the tiebreak lead. In a reversal of the previous game, Zadar dominated the glass 45-29 and shot well from every distance as it improved to 2-2. Zadar nexttravels to Greece to face Aris BSA 2003 after the winter break. Jerusalem, also now 2-2, goes to Lithuanian to meet BC Siauliai in Week 5. Zadar took control in the second half as Tomislav Ruzic scored 6 points and Marko Car added a triple in an 11-0 run that made it 49-35. The hosts polished off the win 10-0 start to the fourth quarter that made it 70-46. Vladimer Boisa was the hero with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Micah Downs added 16 points, Trent Plaisted had 14 and 3 blocks, Car scored 12 and Damir Rancic recorded 10 points and 6 assists for the victors. Naimy led Hapoel with 20 points and Jeter seconded him with 16.
Boisa got the hosts on the scoreboard first before Kevinn Pinkney scored Jerusalem’s first points from the line. The visitors took their first lead on a Leo Lyons three-point play, but Car put Zadar ahead 6-5. Naimy stepped up with 6 points in a 0-8 charge as Hapoel surged ahead. Rancic stepped up with a triple to keep Zadar fighting and Plaisted added a basket on the offensive glass to cut the gap to 2. Plaisted remained a force, twice bringing Zadar with 1 before a pair of Vedran Morovic free throws put the hosts ahead. However Jeter beat the buzzer from downtown to give Hapoel a 17-19 lead after 10 minutes. Back-to-back triples by Downs and Car put Zadar back in charge at the start of the second quarters. Yogev Ohayon came off the bench to knot the game at 23-23. The pace slowed and Jerusalem was held scoreless for over three minutes, but Zadar only built a 5-point lead in that time. Jeter’s free throw made it 30-26 before Boisa got going with a basket and triple to get to 37-28. Jeter helped Jerusalem get to 38-30 by halftime.
Naimy took charge with a layup and triple to bring Hapoel right back in the second half. But just when it seemed that Jerusalem was back, Zadar pulled away for good. Ruzic scored 6 points and Car added a triple in an 11-0 run that made it 49-35. Dijon Thompson scored 5 straight points to give the visitors hope, however threes from Rancic and Downs kept Zadar comfortably ahead. Downs would add 5 more points before the end of the quarter to keep his team in control, 60-46, with 10 minutes remaining. Boisa scored 8 points – including a pair of threes – in a 10-0 start to the fourth quarter that made it a 24-point lead and focused all attention on the 19-point difference from the teams’ first game. Uri Kokia came off the bench to give Jerusalem some inside punch, but Zadar still had a 20+-poit lead. Naimy’s triple made it 77-58, but Downs answered immediately with a basket. Kokia and Naimy fueled a spurt to make it 79-63 only to see a Boise triple bring the lead back to 19. Naimy came back with a basket-plus-foul as it became clear this game would go down to free throws. Jeter made 3 of 4 for Hapoel and Rok Stipcevic and Boisa both missed one for Zadar as Jerusalem escaped with at least the tiebreak advantage.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009