Holon downs Murcia but miss out on BCL playoffs

Mar 20, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Holon defeated Murcia 64-60 to in the final Basketball Champions League Round of 16 Group Stage game but were eliminated from advancing to the quarterfinals due to point differential after Promitheas downed AEK 79-67.

Justin Smith, CJ Harris and Kevin Hervey led the way for Hapoel Holon while Jonah Radebaugh and Marko Todorovic paced Murcia as the Spaniards led 33-31 in a tight game at halftime. Todorovic and Dustin Sleva kept finding the bucket for Murcia but Tahjere McCall and Smith came back with points however, baskets by Todorovic sent Murcia into the final frame up by 53-46. Drew Crawford scored from the outside and inside, Smith put in a 3-point play and added a deuce to give Amit Sherf’s team the lead as Todorovic tried to keep the game tight with a late triple but free throws from Niv Misgav and Hervey closed out the win. Justin Smith scored 20 points led the purples while Marko Todorovic scored 23 points for the Spaniards.

Kevin Hervey – Photo credit: BCL

“To beat Murcia is amazing,” Holon coach Amit Sherf said. “They are one of the best teams we saw this season and we had to change the game as they play at a such a high tempo. Unfortunately, I have to sum up the season and not just the game as AEK didn’t give up but Promitheas won and we were eliminated. We are 4-2 and Tofas who qualified are 2-4. We know that every basket is important and we lost the difference last week against Promitheas which lost the qualification. All respect to Promitheas who won all the close games and had clutch players.”

Amit Sherf – Photo Credit: FIBA

“I want to thank the players. Since October 7th the players left their families for over a month as we were hosted in Cyprus and then Latvia and of course Hungary. The organization reacted after injuries and brought in top players to help us win and we won three games to give us the chance to qualify. Every game is like a cup game as every basket will decide if we advance or not. Everyone did the most that they could to help us succeed. Everyone welcomed us and showed us good vibes. Unfortunately, we can’t host the quarterfinals here in Hungary as well.”

“I want to congratulate Holon,” Murcia coach Sito Alonso said. “I realize how they played the second round games as they fought all the way and beat all the teams. They played with no supporters which is not easy and played at a very good level. We didn’t play well and our goal was to finish in 1st place and we got that which we were very happy about. But this game was difficult for us as Holon had a very good spirit.”

Justin Smith – Photo credit: BCL

Justin Smith spoke about the game that as as well as the BCL campaign as a whole, “We made it ugly, they are so talented top to bottom we had to make it ugly and fight our way through it. We went down 8-10 points and that is kind of how we won games, we played our game, made it up and found a way to win. We won but we will go home. However, we are very proud due to the situation with no fans and not playing at home. We are a resilient group and I hope that we made teh fans proud, I know that our lockerroom is.”

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