Nes Ziona defeated U-BT Cluj Napoca 91-78 in the first game of FIBA Europe Cup Playoff Qualification with the winner of the two total point contests receiving a place in the group stage of the competition. Chris Dowe led all scorers with a brilliant 26 points while Tal Dunne has a marvelous game as the veteran dropped 23 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out 6 assists and picked up 4 steals. Mickell Gladness added a double double with 10 points and 13 boards in the win for the host’s. Kendall Dykes was the high acorer for the visiting club.
The host’s ran out to a 25-18 lead after ten minutes thanks to Dowe’s 9 points and Dunne’s 8 as Nes Ziona were all over the floor controlling the pace and setting the tone for the balance of the half which they took 54-39. After an even 3rd quarter with each side scoring 17 points the 4th quarter was more of the same as Nadav Zilberstien’s squad picked up the 13-point win.
Chris Dowe spoke to The Sports Rabbi following the game about the keys to the win, “We were missing perhaps our best player in Daequan Cook to injury, so I wanted to come in and try to help fill the void. I think our whole team stepped up which was really key in the victory.”
Closing in on qualifying for the FIBA Europe Cup:
“I think it’s be huge as it’s would be the first time. It also helps make the season go by faster with more games to play which would be more fun. Plus we get to travel to different countries and different cities, It would be just a great experience overall why but would just help us.”
Israel so far:
“I’m loving it. I got to say thank you to my friends Larry (O’Bannon) and Donta Smith for telling me everything I needed to know about Israel and thanks to thecoaches and staff for giving me the opportunity to come here.”