In a fierce battle between two teams already qualified for the Last 32, host Hapoel Jerusalem outlasted Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir 79-75 on Wednesday to claim second place in regular season Group E over the visitors. Jerusalem finished 6-4 in second place behind Khimki Moscow Region, while Izmir fell to 5-5 and third place. Izmir led early and made several runs at Jerusalem, the last at 77-75 with 12 seconds left after triples by Leo Lyons and Bobby Dixon, but there the rally ended as the hosts and former Eurocup champions secured the victory at the foul line. Ronald Dupree led Jerusalem's scorers with 13 points while Dixon and Artsiom Parakhouski added 12 each, Josh Duncan 11 and Lior Eliyahu 10 to go with 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Izmir, which outshot Jerusalem 11-2 from the arc, got 20 points from Jon Diebler, 17 from Dixon and 16 from Esteban Batista.
Yotam Halperin and Eliyahu split all their team's early points to give Jerusalem control of the scoreboard at 9-4. Izmir turned the tables with a 0-9 run in which Batista scored 4 points. Dixon's second three-pointer gave the visitors a 13-18 lead that Diebler improved by a point before Adam Ariel cut the difference for Jerusalem to 19-23 after the first quarter. Jerusalem took over with near-shutout defense for almost 6 minutes of the second quarter to go ahead 29-25 on 6 consecutive free throws by Duncan. After Batista and Baris Hersek tied it for Izmir, Ronald Dupree's triple sparked a 9-0 Jerusalem run that was answered by downtown strikes from Yunus Sonsirma and Diebler. Yaniv Green capped the first half by giving Jerusalem a 40-35 edge.
Diebler blasted 7 points in a row for Izmir to tie the game 42-42 soon after halftime. Kitchen and Parakhouski saved Jerusalem from falling behind and Dupree scored 3 two-pointers in 2 minutes to give the hosts a 55-49 cushion. Despite Diebler staying hot, Green and Ariel proved that Jerusalem had more bench scoring to rely on as they pushed the hosts' lead up to its highest yet, 61-52 after 30 minutes. Izmir was far from finished, however. Can Altintig opened the fourth quarter with his first basket and created another second chance for Batista in a sudden 2-9 run that got the visitors within 63-61 in less than 3 minutes. After a Jerusalem timeout, Leo Lyons measured and hit his first triple for Izmir to take the lead against his old team. Parakhouski, Dupree and Kitchen soon hit successive baskets to take it back for the hosts at 71-66. Despite the next 3 points by Batista and Lyons, Dupree and Eliyahu answered to put Jerusalem up 75-69 going into the final minute. Out of a timeout, Lyons and Dixon buried triples around a basket by Kitchen to get Izmir within 77-75 with 12 seconds left, but Kitchen's perfect 2 free throws let Jerusalem finish the job and take second place in Group E.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013