Hapoel Tel Aviv put the EuroCup on notice with a 92-70 blowout win over first place Gran Canaria at the Drive In Arena. The Reds came out flying from the get go and went up by double digits by the end of the first quarter as Danny Franco’s squad never looked back to notch the convincing win.
Jordan McRae and Chinanu Onuaku paced Hapoel over the course of the first half while Xavier Munford and J’Covan Brown were instrumental in the second as John Shurna tried in vain to keep Jake Lakovic’s squad close but it was not to be as the hosts cruised to tree big victory.
McRae led all scorers with 25 points, Munford added 19 points, Onuaku scored 15 points while Brown chipped in with 11 points and 14 assists in the win. Shurna paced the visitors with 16 points and Aleksander Balcerowski added 12 points in the loss.
“I’m very proud of our team effort,” Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Danny Franco said. “The fans packed the gym in a sold out game and I am sure that everyone is proud as we compete in the EuroCup step by step and game by game. Everyone that vane off the bench contributed like a team.”
“They outrebounded us, they outplayed us, so congratulations to Hapoel Tel Aviv,” Gran Canaria coach Jake Lakovic said. “It’s one loss, we have to go on, there are still some games to play. It was a bad game for us, we need to recover, and play better. As for the fans this was a good experience for us to play in front of such good supporters.”
Game MVP Jordan McRae spoke about the victory against Gran Canaria who have the best record in the EuroCup, “When you are a professional athlete and you have the number one team coming into your gym, then that’s all you need. I think we did a good job being focussed and being prepared.”
Chinanu Onuaku looked back at the win over the first place team, “We marked this game on the calendar because we lost to them and we feel that we are the better team and we feel that we are the best team in the EuroCup. They are at the top of the group and technically they are the best team but we are right behind them.”
Hapoel Holon fell to 0-3 in Champions League action as they lost to JDA Dijon in France 89-81 after giving up a late 13-0 run to the hosts to wipe out a double dight lead that the purples held for the majority of the game. With the loss to Dijon, Guy Goodes’s squad find themselves in last place in the Round of 16 Group Stage while Hapoel Jerusalem, Strasbourg and Dijon all sit with a 2-1 record after there gamedays and three to go.
Shawn Dawson continued his hot streak of late with a big first half to give Holon a 46-35 advantage at halftime while Chris Johnson, Joe Ragland and CJ Harris all propelled the purples to a comfortable lead as the contest headed into the final frame. However, David Brembley, Markis McDuffie and Matt Mobley all scored down the stretch to cap off a 33-16 quarter and comeback to take the surprising victory.
Dawson led Holon with 17 points, Johnson added 16 points and Ragland chipped in with 15 points in the loss. Brembly paced all scorers with 22 points, Matt Mobley scored 18 points and McDufffie put in 15 points in the win.
“This was a painful loss and we led 35 minutes,” Guy Goodes said. “We turned over the ball and we gave up in the end. The 19 turnovers gave them 17 points and they made more from offensive rebounds. Then in the last five minutes they can back and won the game.”
“It was an amazing win,” Dijon coach Nenad Markovic said. “We executed the last quarter how we did the entire game,, The players understand that we can’t play slow and soft and we have to play aggressive and hard.”
Chris Johnson looked back at the big turnaround for Dijon, “Tough loss, especially when we had a lead in the last quarter, We had to keep the turnovers low and they had a good game.”