Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Benfica 84-66 thanks to a stellar game by captain Levi Randolph to pace the Reds to the win and to move their Basketball Champions League record to 2-0. Next up for Aleksandar Dzikic’s squad is a date with PAOK in Greece as they will look to maintain their perfect start to the continental season.
Chris Johnson, Levi Randolph and Maurice Ndour scored for Hapoel Jerusalem early on, but Ivan Almeida and Terrell Carter made sure that Benfica kept pace as the Reds took an early 46-39 lead at halftime. Randolph began the third quarter with points a plenty but Almeida matched him, however baskets by Zach Hankins and Or Cornelius bumped the Reds lead up to 64-54 after thirty minutes of play. Khadeen Carrington, Randolph and Ndour all scored in the final frame to cruise to the 18-point victory.
Randolph led the way with 18 points, Ndour added 14 points and Hankins scored 11 points in the win. Almeida scored 18 pointed and Trey Dreschel added 14 points in the defeat.
“It was a tough game for both opponents with the rhythm of the game and technical problems,” head coach Aleksandar Dzikic said. “They opened well and then we had the problems. I’m not super happy that Benfica ended up in my group as they are a great team and they have so many weapons on offense and abilities. They all said they can score but they play defense and nothing is was against them. We were focussed a little more at the end.”
Yovel Zoosman spoke about the game that was and having to play away from Israel, It was a long game with the break and we didn’t start the 2nd half well but found energy and focus in the 3rd and 4th quarter. We stayed with our values and focussed. It was a tough gym and we were happy with the win.
“It’s not easy and we have been out of Israeli or quite some time. We have to find the energy and strength within us, we believe that we are doing this for a bigger reason and we hope we made the fans proud. We saw some fans at the arena, this one was for all of them.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv were handed their first loss of their Europe campaign, succumbing to Paris 114-87 to drop there record to 4-1 on the season. Without guard J’Covan Brown who was out nursing a groin injury, the Reds were dominated in almost every facet of the game by the hosts who saw TJ Shorts score early on followed up by Collin Malcolm and Tyson Ward to take the 27-point victory.
Malcolm led the way with 23 points, Ward added 20 points and Shorts chipped in with 15 points and 10 assists in a win that saw Paris control the boards 37-28 and dish out more helpers 28-20. Jaylen Hoard paced Hapoel with 20 points, Brian Angola added 13 points and Kyle Alexander scored 12 points in the loss.
Kyle Alexander put down a dunk while Tomer Ginat and Brian Angola scored while TJ Shorts and Bandja Sy scored at will early on for Paris but baskets by Jaylen Hoard and Idan Zalmanson gave the Reds a 24-21 lead after ten minutes of play. Shorts began the second quarter like a man possessed with points a plenty to help the hosts to a 10-0 run, while Collin Malcolm and Michael Kessens scored at will to open up a 54-39 advantage at halftime.
Tyson Ward had the hot hand for Paris to start off the third quarter, Sy put down a dunk in the paint and nailed a corner 3-ball as Xavier Munford and John Holland tried to keep Danny Franco’s squad close but Malcolm with points from deep gave Tuomas Ilsalo’s team a commanding 82-59 lead after 30 minutes of action. Ward scored from the outside and the inside, Nadir Hifi and Malcolm found points as well as Hoard tried to keep the visitors from running way with the lead which they eventually did to close out the win.