Banvit rallies past Hapoel, gets first win
In a great showdown that went down to the final seconds, Banvit Bandirma rallied from a double-digit deficit to defeat Hapoel Jerusalem 80-76 in Group E on Wednesday. Sammy Mejia led the winners with 17 points. Vladimir Dragicevic added 16 while Vladimir Veremeenko and Keith Simmons each had had 13 for Banvit. Joseph Jones led Hapoel with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Bracey Wright added 14, Donta Smith had 13 while Derwin Kitchen got 11 for the 2004 ULEB Cup champions. Kitchen and Jones shined early, allowing Hapoel to get a 14-19 edge after 10 minutes. A jumper by Smith and a three-pointer by Yotam Halperin made it a double-digit game, 22-33. Can Maxim Mutaf and an outstanding Veremeenko allowed Banvit to get as close as 33-35 at halftime. A big basket by Berkay Candan completed the hosts' comeback, 41-40, soon after the break. Jones kept Hapoel in the game and the game went down to an exciting finish. Simmons hit a triple for a 73-72 Banvit lead, Wright hit a jumper but Mejia answered from downtown and free throws by Veremeenko and Simmons allowed the hosts to seal a valuable home win.
Smith and Jones stepped up early to give Hapoel a 4-6 lead. Kitchen shined with a three-point play and a layup by Smith boosted the guests' lead to 6-11. Banvit found its regular go-to guy, Mejia, who had 6 points in an 8-2 run which put Banvit back ahead, 14-13. Kitchen sank a jumper, Tony Gaffney added a layup and free throws by Wright gave Hapoel a 14-19 edge after 10 minutes. Wright capped an 0-8 Hapoel run with a jumper and traded baskets with Dragicevic for a 16-23 score. Dragicevic kept trying to change things for Banvit but Halperin and Kitchen kept Hapoel way ahead, 20-28. A jumper by Smith soon made it a a double-digit game, 20-30. Mejia nailed a jumper which Halperin bettered with a three-pointer. Simmons and Mutaf rescued Banvit and Veremeenko brought the hosts back to life, 33-35, at halftime. Jones scored down low right after the break but Dragicevic and Mutaf soon tied it at 37-37. Halperin silenced the crowd with a three-pointer but Veremeenko and Candan completed the hosts' comeback, 41-40. An unstoppable Veremeenko and Simmons soon allowed Banvit to get a 45-41 edge but Wright and Yaniv Green soon made Hapoel tie it at 48-48. Veremeenko and Mejia restored a 52-50 Banvit edge after 30 minutes. A dunk by Simmons and a three-pointer by Mutaf seemed to put Banvit in the right track, 60-54, with 7 minutes left. Jones, however, singlehandedly allowed Hapoel to tie it again, 62-62. Safak Edge and Mejia struck from downtown but Wright and Jones kept Hapoel in the game, 70-70, with 2 minutes left. Smith scored down low and Wright added a jumper but Simmons and Mejia made three-pointer for a 76-74 Banvit lead with 30 seconds left. Smith and Wright missed respective shots and free throws by Veremeenko allowed Banvit to seal the outcome.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014