BC Khimki Moscow took a key 75-85 road win Tuesday at struggling Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem to improve to 3-3 in complicated Group C of the ULEB Cup. Khimki swept the season series from Hapoel, further complicating matters for the former ULEB Cup champs, who lost their second straight home game and fell to 2-4 overall. Khimki took control from the start, finishing the first 10 minutes with a 12-point lead and never looking back. Hapoel made one last effort in the closing minutes and closed the margin to 6, but missed three shots that could have made the final seconds more interesting. Khimki featured a well-balanced attack that had seven players who scored between 9 and 13 points. Ruben Wolkowyski and Melvin Booker scored 13 each, with the later having 8 assists. Ademola Okulaja added 12 and 9 rebounds, Maciej Lampe had 11 points, Vitaly Fridzon and Gianmarco Pozzecco scored 10 each and Oscar Torres finished with 9. Former Hapoel player Kelly McCarty, who was the MVP of the final when Jerusalem won the ULEB Cup in 2004, scored only 4 points, but grabbed 8 rebound sin his first game back at Malha Arena. Meir Tapiro led Hapoel with 15 points and 6 assists, Mario Austin and Timmy Bowers had 13 each – with Austin grabbing 13 rebounds – Jurica Golemac finished with 12 points and 4 assists and Ed Cota added 11.
Golemac scored the first points of the game from the line, but Vitaly Fridzon and Booker replied with three-pointers to give the visitors a 2-6 lead. McCarty increased it to 6-11 before Austin committed his second foul after 4:36 minutes and went to the bench. Dror Hagag came off the bench and scored, but McCarty used his size advantage on Bowers to keep his team in front 10-19. Hapoel made one bad pass after another, and Booker punished on the other end. Coach Dan Shamir called a timeout with a little over a minute to play in the quarter, and on the next Hapoel possession, Tapiro broke the drought with a three-pointer, but Golemac missed an open lay up with the buzzer as Khimki held a 13-25 lead after one quarter. Hapoel missed three open shots behind the arc and saw Boris Gorenc sink one from the other end, to bring Khimki to a 15-32 lead. Tapiro buried another three and Austin scored 6 in a row during an 11-2 run, which made it 26-34 half way through the second quarter. Wolkovyski brought the margin back to 10, but Hagag made two from the line and Tapiro hit a tough jumper to bring Hapoel within 32-39 at halftime.
Ademola Okulaja started the third with a triple, but Hapoel replied with Golemac and Bowers to make it 37-44. Fridzon made three in a row from the line and Booker nailed a long jumper to take Khimki to 37-50. Gianmarco Pozzecco drilled a three-pointer and then made a block to carry Khimki to a 48-61 lead after 30 minutes. Golemac started the deciding quarter with a layup, but missed the bonus point from the line. Soon Oscar Tores started a 2-7 spurt with a three and Hapoel took another timeout down 53-68. Tapiro and Tamar Slay both committed their fourth fouls but Hapoel's main concern was on the boards where Khimki kept swamping offensive rebounds to maintain the lead. Tapiro scored 4 points in a row to give Hapoel hope, causing Khimki to call timeout up 62-70 with 3 minutes to play. Austin made a tough one to bring Hapoel within 6 and Khimki committed another turnover, but Bowers missed the fastbreak finish and Cota committed a foul while going for the offensive rebound. Wolkowyski and Bowers exchanged free throws and Hapoel's pressure on defense resulted a steal, but Bowers once again didn't finish well and missed a chance to make it a 4-point game. Pozzecco hit 6 straight from the line, essentially sealing the result and giving it first road win of the season.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Yarone Arbel, Jerusalem