“Cousins made a big difference for us” – Jerusalem downs Bandirma 83-72 in Champions League Action; Kalinoski with superb showing on Reds radar screen

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Hapoel Jerusalem dropped pesky Bandirma 83-72 as James Feldeine continued his hot shooting with 7 3-pointers good for 27 points. The visitors kept the game close throughout the first thirty minutes but Oded Katash’s squad was able to pull away in the final frame thanks to fine players by Tashawn Thomas (18 points) at the beginning of the period. In addition to Feldeine and Thomas, J’Covan Brown scored 8 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 8 assists in the win. Tyler Kalinoski led Bandirma with 14 points, 8 boards and 7 assists while Emanuel Terry added 14 points and Omar Prewitt chipped in with 13 points.

Bandirma jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter with Tyler Kalinoski and Emanuel Terry leading the way but strong play from James Feldeine and Mindaugas Kupsas helped Jerusalem take a 21-17 advantage after ten minutes of action.

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The visitors went on a 13-0 run to start the second quarter as Omar Prewitt and Terry played catalyst to help the Turkish squad to a 30-23 lead midway through the frame. But Feldeine went off for a quartet of triples to put Oded Katash’s team ahead 43-37 at halftime.

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Tamir Blatt opened up the second half with a pair of 3-pointers but Sehmus Hazer, Prewitt and Kalinoski all scored to pull Bandirma to within 2-points 53-51. Tashawn Thomas put home a powerful dunk and Nimrod Levi hit a triple but points by Hazer and Hummer cut the Jerusalem lead to 60-56 after thirty minutes.

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Thomas scored nine Jerusalem points to begin the fourth quarter to give the hosts a 71-58 lead with 4:58 remaining in regulation. Feldeine drilled another pair of triples as the Reds ran off with the 83-72 win.

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3-Pointers
1) Jerusalem was without their lockdown defender Trent Lockett who returned to the US to deal with a personal matter and he was definitely missed both on and off of the court. Lockett is one of those great character guys that Jerusalem is built around. He’s kind, pleasant and just a plain old “Mensch” as they say in Yiddish. He is loved by his teammates and media alike and we all hope and pray for him during this time. “We are all praying for Trent and we don’t know how long he will be out,” said coach Katash. “But his personal issues are much more important than basketball. We care about our players and we are here for them. If we have to bring in a player while he is out then we will.” Su Braimoh also spoke about Lockett’s absence, “It’s tough. Trent makes us a more dynamic team especially on defense, but that’s why it’s a team; next man up and we were able to do that tonight.” Who came up big for Jerusalem, especially on defense? Isaiah Cousins who started the game for the Reds, “The team is a little down but we got to be professional and be there for him.” Finally, Tashawn Thomas chimed in as well about Lockett, “It’s definitely tough and we miss Trent, but we are with him. Before he left he told us that I’m leaving but you guys have to stay together as a team and somebody else has to step up. And somebody stepped up tonight.”

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2) That somebody who stepped up was Cousins. The guard played a tremendous game as he focussed on the defensive side with Lockett out and ended the night with a +16 to go with his five points and 4 assists. It’s good news for Jerusalem that Cousins was able to put in a solid performance especially since he isn’t registered for the Israeli league and only plays once a week which doesn’t give him much of an opportunity to show his wares. The guard spoke about his game, “I just wanted to bring energy and be active with a lot of energy on defense.”

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“He’s super aggressive defensively and coach said he was one of the only players doing that at the halftime,” explained Feldeine at the post game press conference. “He made some mistakes but I liked how he played, what he can do and what he brings to the team. We don’t know who will have to step up each game and we are happy that he did this game.” Tashawn Thomas was impressed with the 20 minutes he played, “We all knew that he had one of these games coming because he had been doing well in practice. We played together in college and I have been trying to keep his confidence up. He may not have scored a lot but he made good decisions and made the right plays every time. I was happy for him tonight.” Katash complimented Cousins for being a game changer, “We started the game slow again and we didn’t match the effort that Bandirma came in with. Both teams were missing key players and we were lucky to have Isaiah with his aggressiveness. He and Su made a big difference for us today.” Lastly, Braimoh spoke about what he has seen in Cousins, “In my ten years he’s probably the hardest working guys I have ever met. For him to keep getting better every day and that translating to the game, I can’t be happier for him.”

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3) Jerusalem continued with their slow starts as it always seems that it takes a quarter of play for the Reds to kick it into gear. At some point the slow starts are going to catch up with them and the end result will not be the one they were looking or hoping for. On the positive side, the players are well aware of the issue at hand as Braimoh explained, “We definitely had a slow start. We can’t do it too often but we made some key stops and James came alive.” Speaking of Feldeine, the Israel League’s player of the week also spoke about getting out of the starting block properly, “We started off slow again and it’s something that we’ve been doing and then we picked it up and we took a big lead. My two 3-pointers hurt them and that was all.”

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Overtime
Tyler Kalinoski was superb for Bandirma finishing the night with an absolutely terrific game. The Davidson product had his former teammate Jake Cohen in the house for the game and he certainly didn’t disappoint his old buddy. Kalinoski, who I understand from sources is on the Hapoel Jerusalem radar screen, would be a great addition to a team that is in the market for a player or two. However, the guard would be an even better fit for Maccabi Tel Aviv who need to bring in at least one or maybe two players due to injuries to John DiBartlomeo and Nate Wolters. I even Tweeted about the need for Maccabi to send a scout to watch Kalinoski the day before the game and I guess Cohen was that man.


Kailinoski spoke about the game that was but really complimented his own team’s effort without Jaime Smith, “Give us credit that we fought until the end. We had spurts but we also had issues on defense and made mistakes and gave them open looks. Jamie is a great player and point guard. He brings so much to the table, but I was still comfortable with our team and at the end fo the day we just made too many mistakes.”

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They Said It…
Tashwn Thomas on his huge 4th quarter – “There was a lot of transition where I was able to get past the defense and make easy layups and dunks.”

Tashawn Thomas about the club’s rebounding – “We knew that they rebounded very well and we just slipped up on that tonight. Thankfully we didn’t let the rebounding take over the game.”

Su Braimoh on what he brings to Jerusalem – “I just try and help my team with my versatility, whether it’s scoring, defense I just go out there and play hard.”

Isaiah Cousins about next week’s Champions League game at AEK – “We just got to bring the momentum and be mentally prepared for the game.”

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