Hapoel Jerusalem got by Maccabi Ashdod 104-94 in the nation’s capital. Playing without an injured Tamir Blatt, the Reds stepped up dishing out 33 assists while shooting 10/24, 42% from beyond the arc as his absence was barely felt in the in. J’Covan Brown scored 25 points and recorded 6 assists, James Feldeine added 21 points and 7 helpers while Yogev Ohayon picked up 10 assists for the Reds. Lis Shoshi dropped 30 points for Ashdod while Mark Tollefsen chipped in with 17 points in the defeat.
Ashdod jumped out to a 16-9 lead after 5:34 thanks to a pair of Tollefsen 3-pointers and six points from Shoshi but triples by Brown, Ohayon and Feldeine put Jerusalem ahead 27-22 after ten minutes of action. Shoshi and Tollefsen again took it to the Reds in the second quarter but Feldeine’s 10 points sent Jerusalem into the break with a 53-44 lead.
Feldeine continued his fine play as Da’Sean Butler chipped in for Hapoel while Spencer Weisz and Shoshi who hit a half court last second shot to end the third quarter kept Ashdod hanging around, down by 8-points, 75-68. Shoshi cut the lead to just four points early on in the final frame, but buckets by Owens, Eliyahu and Brown sent Jerusalem on their way to a 104-94 victory.
1) Jerusalem barely felt the loss of Tamir Blatt who is out with a groin injury and will most probably be unavailable for the final Champions League contest in Dijon, France. Feldeine came into the press conference after scoring 21 points in a jovial mood as he said his 7 assists were for coach Oded Katash who says he can score but never passes the ball, “Last game was a struggle for me, offensively and defensively and the last few days I was trying to get back to my normal self. Oded said I can’t pass and I score too much so I had to show him. Yogev stepped up in place of Tamir Blatt today. We have another game and we want to close our Champions League regular season campaign in a strong way. We still want to send a message. After the last group game is over we will then focus on next week and the State Cup.”
2) J’Covan Brown was fantastic playing intelligent ball and reading the game extremely well as he got the start in place of the injured Blatt. Gong 9/13 with four triples plus six assists ended his night with a efficiency rating of 34. Not bad for the former Gilboa/Galiol guard, “I was aggressive and I have to stay aggressive, with Tamir or without Tamir I need to stay aggressive and get back to being myself. Every game is important we want to find a rhythm and we want to put our ourselves in the situation to win the championship. We have a great team and a great locker-room with character. Its’s a blessing to be around these guys and to have fun. We share the great moments and the bad moments. It’s a good atmosphere with this team and we will be ready.” And who is going to win the Super Bowl? “I don’t care, my Eagles aren’t in it.”
3) Lis Shohsi is playing super duper basketball of late. The Ashdod big man can shoot from the perimeter going 3/3 from deep, take the ball inside, grab rebounds and be a defensive menace on the floor changing up the opposition’s shots. Ashdod Coach Brad Greenberg was very happy with how the Kosovo center has been developing and that in fact he was given a standing ovation from the Jerusalem crowd after his fine performance, “I didn’t see it but he did and it meant a lot to him. He said to me that it was the first time that this had happened to him. He’s having a great year and I’ve been fortunate to work with him as he’s getting great experience and he’s growing. He’s a 7 footer who can shoot block shots and has a bright future. He’s a delight to be around.”
Da’Sean Butler put in another fine outing for Jerusalem and he spoke about the victory following the game, “It’s always good to win in the league at home. They came off a heart breaking game but they played very well and we didn’t take them lightly. They hit a lot of shots, but thankfully we came together as a team and pulled out the win. I thought we did a good job keeping everybody involved and Yogev did an amazing job tonight as did JB. Tamir is a great point guard at a young age and it’s great that we have these veteran point guards as well who can play at a drop of a dime.”