Hapoel Jerusalem fell to Manresa 73-68 in a nail bitter as the game was decided to the final seconds of the contest for the second week in a row in Israel’s capital city in Basketball Champions League action.
The Reds held a slight advantage for the majority of the game thanks to the fine play of Jalen Adams but Sylvain Francisco who led the visitors in scoring set up Elias Valtonen for a 3-pointer to put Manresa ahead for good in the final minute of the game to take the win.
Adams scored 24 points to lead Oren Amieli’s squad while Amit Gershon added 7 points in the loss. Francisco scored 23 points, Guillem Jou added 10 points and Joe Thomasson chipped in with 9 points in the victory.
“It was a battle and we came up short at the end on mistakes that you can’t do at this level,” Jerusalem head coach Oren Amiel said following the contest. “Missed free throws are part of the game we can live with that but not with the defense. We have to find the right words for the guys to keep going.”
When asked about not playing Sean Kilpatrick over the final quarter abs a half, Amiel didn’t mince words, “There are things that I would rather keep to ourselves and we went with players who could help us at the end.”
“We fought but little mental mistakes cost us at the end of the game,” Jalen Adams said. “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board. I knew the game was going to be tough and we missed a lot of open shots but we have to live with that.”
Pedro Martinez, the Manresa bench boss commented about the win as well, “We played pretty good defense during the game. We gave them more orpions to score due to not getting the rebounds, we shared the ball in the second half and were able to create points.”
The game’s MVP Sylvain Francisco also commented on the win, “We shared the ball and I’m happy with the whole team, they all did a great job. It’s tough to win on the road.”
Anthony Bennett got things underway for Jerusalem with a dunk after the team took a pair of offensive boards, while Chima Moneke put in a reverse layup at the other end but Itay Segev and Retin Obasohan added points to give Jerusalem a 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter. Elias Valtonen went from deep for Manresa, but Thon Maker put down a dunk and Jalen Adams nailed a 3-pointer as the Reds who were wearing black took a 15-10 lead after ten minutes.
Sylvain Francisco and Rafa Martinez put in baskets for the visitors to begin the second quarter as they came back to snatch the lead 19-16 with 5:56 left in the first half. Kaiser Gates dropped a corner 3-ball and Sean Kilpatrick hit a couple of short range buckets, Ismael Bako scored from the charity stripe and Yankuba Sima added points inside but Bennet put down a mega dunk and Adams scored as time expired to give Oren Amiel’s team a slim 33-32 advantage.
Francisco began the third quarter with a 3-pointer and hit another one midway through the period to give Pedro Martinez’s squad a 41-35 lead. Adams went from downtown, Joe Thomasson drilled home a comer triple, while Willy Workman and Gates scored in the paint as Adams kept scoring to give the hosts a 50-48 lead after thirty minutes of play.
Adam Ariel scored to start off the fourth quarter while Guillem Jou answered from deep for Manresa but Adams did the same as the scoring came fast and furious. Francisco chucked the ball off the backboard and into the basket from beyond the arc and then hit an off balance jumper to retake the advantage 56-55 with 5:54 remaining in regulation time.
Amit Gershon hit a 3-pointer from the left corner, Thomasson immediately answered and Francisco scored a layup but Segev put down a dunk. Francisco hit free throws, Adams came back with an acrobatic layup, Francisco hit a turn around jumper and Adams did the same at the other end and then sank a triple to put Jerusalem in the drivers seat 67-66 with 47.9 seconds left in the game.
Francisco drove to the hoop but kicked the ball out to a wide open Valtonen who nailed a corner 3-pointer to give Manresa a 69-67 lead as Adams then went to the line but missed both free throws handing the ball back to the visitors who scored their free throws to wrap up the win.