Hapoel Tel Aviv heads to the EuroCup quarterfinals after dropping Venezia

Apr 12, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Tel Aviv defeated Reyer Venezia 90-80 to advance to the EuroCup quarterfinals where they will face Joventut Badalona next week just outside of Barcelona for the right to head to the Final Four of the continental competition.

The Reds who had six players in double figures, came out flying in front of their home fans at a packed Drive In Arena and quickly put their mark on the game. Danny Franco’s squad saw J’Covan Brown and Xavier Munford lead the way in the forts quarter while captain Bar Timor had the hot hand in the second period as Hapoel went on an 18-0 run to head into halftime up 48-32.

Tomer Ginat and Idan Zalmanson – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Tomer Ginat couldn’t miss in the third quarter as the Reds headed into the final frame with a commanding 77-55 advantage. However, Amedeo Tessitori, Jayson Granger and Derek Willis cut down the lead to just 80-75 late in the final frame but a couple of Chinanu Onuaku dunks along with baskets by Brown and Munford closed out the victory.

Chinanu Onuaku – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Timor and Munford each scored 13 points, Brown added 12 points and Onuaku chipped in with 11 points in the win. Granger with 18 points and Willis with 16 points paced Neven Spahija’s team in the loss.

Danny Franco – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


“We were all very excited to play against a team like Venice – a lot of tradition, veteran players and a great coach like Neven [Spahija],” Franco began. “I am happy for the way we reacted, we were a bit nervous in the beginning but we came out of it extremely well. A lot of guys contributing, coming off the bench, it was really a team effort. In an atmosphere like that, I am really proud of my team.”

Neven Spahija – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


“I would like to congratulate Hapoel for playing amazing basketball, they were the better team and they deserved to win,” Spahija said. “They’ve played amazing basketball all season and I hope they can go all the way. We didn’t play good basketball today for most of the game. I regret that we were not more consistent and realize that we couldn’t make open shots. We needed to play inside more because a serious team can’t afford to take 36 shots from three-point range and just 22 from two-point territory. Basketball is about balancing the inside and the outside game.”

Bar Timor – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Bar Timor also reflected on the game, “We were aggressive on the ball and when they missed their shots we just ran in transition. We also stole some balls and scored a bunch of easy buckets. The fans here always are getting better and better and it’s the loudest that it’s ever been here. As for Badalona, we will go there with the goal to win. We have faith in ourselves and I’m sure fans will come to support there as well. Three wins to go, but we have to take it one game at a time.”

J’Covan Brown – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Derek Willis went from deep for Venezia to get the game underway, Xavier Munford responded from long distance for Hapoel Tel Aviv while Chinanu Onuaku also found points off the glass but Jordan Parks hit a pair from downtown to give the visitors a slim 10-9 lead midway through the first quarter. J’Covan Brown came back with two triples, Idan Zalmanson made his mark with a couple of buckets in the paint and Gil Beni nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Reds a 24-16 lead after ten minutes of play.

Xavier Munford – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Bar Timor began the second quarter with a trio of baskets and JP Tokoto added two baskets of his own to bump the Hapoel lead up to 37-18 with 5:32 left in the first half. Brown and Jeff Brooks traded buckets, Jaylen Hoard put down an alley-oop, Jordan McRae went from deep, Parks and Jayson Granger tried to make a dent in the lead but Munford scored as the half ended with Danny Franco’s team in control with a 48-32 advantage.

Gil Beni – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Onuaku and Marco Spissu traded baskets to start off the third quarter, Munford put in a 3-point play but Brown was knocked down to the floor and went off favoring his right shoulder as Brooks and Granger found points but Hapoel stayed in front 55-40 midway through the frame. Tomer Ginat and Onuaku scored, Beni drilled home a corner 3-ball and then Ginat dropped a quartet of buckets to bump the lead up to 77-55 after thirty minutes of action.

J’Covan Brown – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman


Amedeo Tessitori went from deep for Neven Spahija’s squad to lead off the fourth quarter, Willis also went from long distance, Timor scored to stop Venezia’s mini-run as Hapoel still maintained control with a 80-69 lead with five minutes remaining in regulation time. Tessitori put in a layup, Onuaku put down a pair of dunks, Granger went from beyond the arc, Tessitori scored as the shot clock expired, but Brown who returned to action after an injury scare put in a layup and Munford scored from the line to close out the win.

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