Hapoel Jerusalem took a major step towards reaching the Last 16 with a convincing 81-96 win over BC Siauliai on Tuesday in Siauliai, Lithuania. Jerusalem improved to 3-2 and will have a chance to win Group C when it hosts Aris BSA 2003 next week in the Israeli capital. Siauliai dropped to 1-4 and will finish its season next week at Zadar. The visitors enjoyed brilliant games from Brandon Hunter and Pooh Jeter, who were practically unstoppable en route to the win. Jeter was 6 for 7 from downtown on his way to 26 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, while Hunter dominated in the paint on the way to 24 points on 10-for-11 shooting, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Dijon Thompson provided some highlights in the second quarter in teaming with Hunter and Jeter to help Jerusalem take a 35-44 lead by halftime. A 3-16 charge early in the third quarter effectively sealed the result for the Hapoel, which went on to lead by 23 at one point. However Arvydas Siksnius and Derrick Low led Siauliai back in the fourth quarter, bringing the visitors within 10. In the end, Jeter and Tre Simmons stepped up with key baskets to seal the Jerusalem win. Thompson finished with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 6 steals for the winners and Yuval Naimy and Simmons added 10 each. Low paced Siauliai with 22 points, Siksnius scored 16 and Mindaugas Kuzminskas 15.
After a slow start, Siksnius heated up for the hosts with a basket inside and an alley-oop slam from a Low assist. Thompson got Hapoel going with a three from the corner, but Vytautas Sarakauskas answered from downtown and Kuzminskas finished a fast break with a slam as Siauliai climbed ahead 11-5. Jeter drilled a triple for the visitors, but Jerusalem still had trouble stopping Siauliai in the paint. Hunter came off the bench and teamed with Uri Kokia on the offensive glass as Hapoel came back to tie the score at 15-15. Brandon Brown answered for Siauliai, but soon committed his third foul as Hunter completed a three-point play to give Jerusalem its first lead, 17-18, at the end of the first quarter. Sarakauskas started the second quarter with a basket, but Jerusalem answered with a Sharon Shason three before a pair of Hunter baskets made it 19-25. Low fought back with a three-pointer, but Thompson stepped up, cutting to take a pass from Hunter for a slam, picking up a steal on defense and following that with a triple. Naimy found Jeter open for another three to give the visitors a double-digit lead. Low hit back from downtown, but Hapoel remained hot and after another Jeter three, Hunter took the lead to 27-40. Kuzminskas and Siksnius helped the hosts get within 35-44 by the break.
Deividas Gailius’s three-point play started the second half just like Siauliai wanted, but a Jeter triple and a Shason basket kept the visitors in control. Hunter scored and then fed Thompson for a slam before Naimy’s three put Hapoel up 16. A Siauliai timeout changed little as Shason drilled another triple and Thompson added a free throw to cap a 3-16 charge that made it 41-60. Sarakauskas and Brown scored from the line, but Jerusalem continued to charge. Hunter and Naily sank free throws and then Naimy drained a three that took the Hapoel lead past 20. Low sank a runner in the paint and started to feel hot, adding a basket and a triple, which caused Hapoel head coach Guy Goodes to take a timeout. It seemed to work as Jeter scored to make it 51-69 heading into the fourth quarter. Kuzminskas cut the gap to 16 again, however Jerusalem was up 20 after Hunter scored and was fouled and Naimy scored from the line. Siksnius made a three three-pointers over the next two minutes and Kuzminskas added a free throw to bring the hosts with 12. Jeter sank a clutch three to ease Jerusalem, but Kuzminskas scored on the offensive glass and Low drained a three to bring Siauliai within 10 midway through the fourth quarter. Simmons attacked the basket for an important Jerusalem score, but after a timeout, Low matched him. Jeter shined with a three with a hand in his face, Simmons also sank from downtown and Hunter added a basket on the offensive glass as Jerusalem regained control. Mindaugas Zukauskas his back from downtown, but he soon fouled out committing an unsportsmanlike foul on Jeter, who effectively sealed the win from the line.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010