Hapoel Jerusalem came out with all of its guns blazing last night easily defeating Eilat in the holiday town by the Red Sea. Guard Bracey Wright was on fire for Jerusalem scoring 18 points as Dion Thompson added 17 going 7/7 from the free throw line.
Surprisingly star Donta Smith had a quiet night scoring only 4 points in 22 minutes, however Lior Eliyahu with 12 points and 7! assists and 5 rebounds made up for Smith’s disappearing act. Another Israeli Yotam Halperin contributed 11 points while center Tony Gaffney came through with 13 big ones for the visitors.
After a close 1st quarter which saw Jerualem go ahead 25-22 it was all Red opening up and 8-point lead at half time 44-36 and rolling on from there. Adrian Uter tried in vain to keep the hosts close scoring 16 points and pulling down 8 boards while Brian Asbury chipped in with 14 points of his own. But poor 3-point shooting did Eilat in going 4/23 from downtown with wily veteran Afik Nissim hitting only one 3 pointer and scoring only 5-points. To make matters even worse for the hosts Kevin Palmer left early in the 2nd quarter with a dislocated shoulder.
Jerusalem played lock down defense as they limited guard Khalif Wyatt to under 10 points putting in 8 for the evening giving Eilat coach Arik Shivek a lot of food for thought as they prepare for the second leg of this two-game Finals Series Thursday night in Jerusalem.