Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem downed BC Prienai 92-79 on Wednesday to keep alive their hopes of advancing to the Last 16. With one game to go, Hapoel and Prienai are now tied in third place of Group A with 2-3 records and could both still advance. Hapoel never trailed in the game, and made a key run midway through the second quarter when it pulled away to a double-digit lead that reached 18 points in the third quarter. Prienai threatened with three-pointers from Siim-Sander Vene, but the visitors never got closer than 7. Courtney Fells led the way with 25 points on 10-for-11 two-point shooting and Fells also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Craig Smith added 18 points, Elishay Kadir scored 15, Josh Duncan chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Jacob Pullen tallied 10 points plus 6 assists. Vene scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, Arthuras Milaknis finished with 14, Arminas Urbutis had 12, Zygmantas Janavicius scored 10 and Gediminas Orelik had 8 point and 6 rebounds.
Duncan hit a triple to start the game for the hosts, who grabbed early control with 6 points inside from Kadir. Even though Milaknis and Orelik hit threes for Prienai, Fells’s layup made it 13-8. Kadir kept his dominance inside with a dunk and Duncan sank another triple, it 18-12. Arthuras Valeika answered with a basket-plus-foul, but Dan Grunfeld hit another three for the hosts, and Hapoel made it a 7-point game with back-to-back jumpers from Smith. Milaknis at the end of the first and Arminas Urbutis at the beginning of the second quarter helped the visitors cut it to 25-23, but Smith, Grunfeld and Duncan strung together a 6-0 run for 31-23. Milaknis hit two more three-pointers for Prienai, but Fells and Kadir combined for 10 points before Pullen hit from downtown and Raviv Limonad made a jumper to extend the margin to 46-33. Milaknis sank his fourth three-pointer before the quarter’s end, but Smith hit a jump shot that made it 51-39 at the break.
Hapoel opened a 16-point lead at the beginning of the third quarter through Limonad, Fells and Pullen, before Vene strung together 7 points and Arturas Valeika’s layup made it 62-54. However, Fells contributed with 6 points in an 8-0 run that got Hapoel back to a 16-point advantage. Smith's layup at the end of the third and a jumper at the start of the fourth quarter made it 74-56. Rather than going away, Prienai put in effort to respond with a 0-11 run. Vene hit a triple, Arnas Labuckas added a dunk and Janavicius scored twice inside for 74-67, but after a timeout, the host converted three consecutive possessions, including a basket-plus-foul from Kadir and Hapoel's advantage was at 14 points once again. That essentially secured victory for Hapoel and all that was left was a battle for the tiebreaker. Prienai looked to be winning that one after Vene hit two more triples that cut the lead to 85-77. In the final 10 seconds, though, Fells hit a jumper, then stole the ball and sank a triple making it a 13-point margin at game’s end.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012