Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem improved to 2-1 in Group C following a 93-74 home victory over KK Zadar on Tuesday night at Goldberg Arena in the Israeli capital. Hapoel dominated the game from tip off to buzzer and reached a 20-point gap already at the break. Hapoel maintained the lead throughout the entire second half and reached a high of 28 in the closing period, but the visitors in a last effort cut it down to 17 in the last minute to avoid an uncomfortable final score. Dijon Thompson had another big night with 20 points and 5 assists followed by Pooh Jeter who had 18 points and 4 assists. Leo Lyons recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds and Uri Kukia had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Tre Simmons added 11 points and Yogev Ohayon had 11 points to go with 7 assists. Vladimer Boisa led Zadar with 17 points, 11 of them in the first quarter when the game was still close. Hrvoje Peric added 13 and Damir Rancic 12. Kukia's performance on both ends of the floor played a big role in Hapoel's big win, along with point guard Ohayon, who came off the bench to show his floor managing skills.
Before the fans had a chance to warm up their throats Simmons picked up 3 fouls, which seemed like trouble for the local side, but Hapoel had Kevinn Pinkney in top shape and he posted 5 quick points for a 9-2 lead. Zadar woke up in time with Boisa taking over, but Hapoel dominated the offensive boards to remain on top. Boisa scored the only three-pointer for Zadar in the quarter to complete 9 out of the first 13 points of his team. The veteran forward functioned in these minutes also as the vocal leader of his squad, pushing his teammates to make the extra effort, but got only as close as 2 points behind. Jeter beat the first quarter buzzer with a corner fall-away jumper, and added an off-dribble three right after. When Thompson finished a fast break with a dunk it was time for Zadar to call its first time out down 25-18. Lyons with a great reverse layup followed by a three-point play maintained the lead, but saw Peric quickly pick up his numbers and Rok Stipkovic hit his first three pointer to keep Zadar close, but it didn't last long. Zadar's balls once again made a tour on the rim and went out Hapoel used it to write a key 14-1 run, in which five different players scored to take a 46-28 difference with three minutes to play in the half. Rancic broke the drought with a shot from behind the arc that went in after three bounces on the rim, but Hapoel was in full speed, and reached a difference of 20 at the break, 52-32.
After a silent second quarter Boisa returned to action, but Hapoel was already too much to handle. Thompson hit from distance and added a dunk in the break to set the score on 59-37. Coach Guy Goodes saw his players peak a lot of fast break points led by Thompson and Ohayon and keep the margin above the 20 point line. Ohayon combined his floor leadership and lefty handle to make things happen as the gap already reached 28, 84-56, but Zadar used lack of concentration by Hapoel in the closing minutes and cut the margin to only 17 inside the last minute. Kukia capped a dream night with the bucket to set his double-double and a 19 point win in favor of his team.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Yarone Arbel, Jerusalem