Hapoel Jerusalem began their EuroCup quest on the right foot going into Valencia and beating the Spanish side 81-77 in arguably the toughest game in the group. Jerome Dyson (17pts) sliced and diced his way to the basket for Jerusalem in dominating fashion while Curtis Jerrells redeemed himself after Saturday night’s league game leading the Jerusalem scorers with 18 points.
Jerusalem was off to the races early on in Spain taking a 20-16 lead after the first quarter thanks to Bar Timor’s fine play dishing out 4 assists and Dyson’s scoring prowess. While Fernando San Emeterio and Rafa Martinez made an impact for Valencia in the second frame cutting into the Hapoel lead, Dyson again came up big making sure the team went into the half leading by five 41-36.
The visitors took off at the start of quarter number three going on a 13-6 run as Tarence Kinsey, Jerrells and Travis Peterson gave Jerusalem confidence in the important away contest. But again, it was Martinez who brought his Valencia team back into the game as the home side cut the lead to 61-58 with only ten minutes remaining.
Will Thomas, Bojan Dubljevic and Antione Diot all helped give Valencia a fourth quarter lead late in the game, but Stoudemire, Jerrells and Dyson answered for Jerusalem to give the capital city team a crucial opening day win in European play.
1- Guard play was key early and late in the game as Curtis Jerrells and Jerome Dyson performed to the best of their abilities, hitting critical shots and cutting to the basket when called upon while Bar Timor was superb in his 20 minutes. On the flip side, Yotam Halperin only scored 1 point in the half a game he played. Tarence Kinsey picked up 3 early fouls but ended the evening with a respectable 9-points.
2- Hapoel committed way, way, way too many turnovers, 19 in total and amazingly still won the game. Just as the guard play was good, the forwards were, well, less than stellar as Amar’e Stoudemire, Lior Eliyahu and Travis Peterson each were charged with 4 turnovers a piece. This stat could have cost Jerusalem dearly but they were able to weather the storm.
3- When Yotam Halperin exited the game with 6:16 remaining, that marked the last time an Israeli would touch the floor (other than high-fiving their teammates). That fact is, well perhaps, it’s not too good for Israeli basketball when the likes of Timor, Halperin and Eliyahu are stuck on the bench in crunch time while Rafi Menco and Isaac Rosefelt didn’t record a minute of play all night long.
Amar’e Stoudemire played his first European basketball game and looked as comfortable as ever on the floor. Number 1 recorded a double-double (10pts/10rbs), the only player to do so on the evening. Even though he did turn over the ball four times, Jerusalem’s star forward did plenty to earn his keep and show to all who he will be a game changer this season.
Player of the Game:
Without a question Jerome Dyson was the key man in the victory. Not only were his points at critical moments of the game, he is truly a terrific player who knows how to take the ball to the hole and can also play at both ends of the floor. He’s a winner.
Other Israeli European Action:
Naharyia hung in against a tough Turkish side but an 18-9 4th quarter performance by the visitors was just too much for the Arik Alfasi and his team. Stu Douglass (17pts) starred for the hosts as Nick Faust added 13 points and 6 rebounds on he loss.
After a poor first quarter going down 22-14, Rishon dominated the next two outscoring the hosts 47-26 to wrap up an important away win Finland. Charles Thomas led the way with 23 points while Elisha Kadir, Avi Ben Chimol and Patrick Richard all had 10 points in the victory.
Karam Masher (19pts), Stephen Dennis (16pts) and Halil Kanacevic (14pts) couldn’t hold on in the final seconds of regulation to seal the win as the hosts tied up the game with 6 seconds left on free throws by Ivanov leading to a five point overtime victory.