Holon downs Darussafaka 64-57, assures Champions League Play-In spot

Dec 15, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Holon downed Darussafaka 64-57 as Joe Ragland and newcomer Steve Zack led the way to notch the victory that assured the club of at least a place in the Champions League Play-In tournament for a spot in the Round of 16. After a low scoring first half that saw former Holon guard Troy Caupain and Nathan Boothe pace the visitors, Maurizio Buscaglia’s squad began pulling away with strong inside play by Zack and Michale Kyser along with sharp shooting from the outside via Ragland and Pnini to record the win.

The victory moved the purples record to 3-2 in group play good for second place just behind Cluj who are 4-1 and in first place. Should Holon defeat 1-4 Brindisi at home coupled with Darussafaka beating Cluj, Buscaglia and his crew would finish at the top of their group and receive an automatic bye to the Round of 16 without having to participate in the Play-In tournament for the 2nd and 3rd place teams.

Steve Zack – Photo Credit: Champions League

Zack recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, Ragland scored 15 points, Chris Johnson added 10 points and Kyser chipped in with 9 points in the win. Caupain and Boothe each scored 12 points in the loss.

Maurizio Buscaglia – Photo Credit: Champions League

“We forced 18 turnovers so we have to be happy,” Buscaglia said following the win. “This was an important game and it was important to play good defense. I want to thank the fans for the show before the game and it was amazing, it was incredible, it gave me goosebumps. I wanted to play and not be a coach!”

Michale Kyser – Photo Credit: Champions League

Michale Kyser also spoke about the victory, “It was our energy coming into our 4th quarter that helped us to the win. We needed to keep the point spread and we got the differential that we needed. We worked hard every day and we have a great staff and management.”

“It was a hard fought game and we didn’t get the defensive stops we needed,” Caupain began. “I came in with self motivation and it was good to come back to a court I was familiar with and the fans. So I was mentally prepared.”

Troy Caupain – Photo Credit: Champions League

Troy Caupain came out flying for Darussafaka against his former team while Wayne McCollough also found points but Steve Zack on the inside along with Joe Ragland and Frederic Bourdillon on the outside kept Hapoel Holon close but down 19-15 after ten minutes of play. Chris Johnson, Rafi Menco and Steven Gray scored but Caupain and Sinai Guler stopped Holon’s run to give the Turkish squad a 29-27 lead at halftime.

Chris Johnson – Photo Credit: Champions League

Gabriel Olaseni began to find the basket for Darussafaka but Ragland continued to pour in the points while Johnson, Zack and Guy Pnini all scored to put Maurizio Buscaglia’s team ahead 49-42 after thirty minutes of action.

Michale Kyser – Photo Credit: Champions League

Zack and Kyser worked the inside, Pnini did the same from the outside as Nathan Boothe scored for the visitors as Holon stayed in front 56-50 midway through the fourth quarter. Zack scored in the paint and added free throws while Olaseni and Boothe answered at the other end but it wasn’t enough to catch Holon as they chalked up the 7-point win.

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