Hapoel Jerusalem go by Peristeri 77-75 in overtime as Speedy Smith knocked down a game winning 3-pointer to take the hard earned victory with just one second left on the clock. The Greek squad under legendary guard Vassilis Spanoulis opened up a 46-36 lead at halftime but the Reds came back in the third quarter to take a slim lead. As the game moved into the extra session it was Smith whose heroics saved the day for Ilias Kantzouris’s team as they started the Round of 16 Basketball Champions League group stage with an important road win.
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Smith led the way with 22 points, Zach Hankins added 13 points and Brynton Lemar scored 11 points in the win. Trevor Thompson paced the Greeks with 16 points while Jaylen Hands and Kenny Williams each scored 13 points in the loss.
“It was a very hard game that we expected,” Hapoel Jerusalem coach Illias Kamtzouris said. “It was a dogfight between two really good teams. We knew it was really hard to perform here and cradte an opportunity to win. I believe that our defense in the second half was not the most decisive and at the end it was the small details. We hit one big shot and we could have finished it earlier, but this is basketball.”
“Peristeri has good players and great coach and we knew that they would not give up but what matters is that we got a big W in our luggage and we will keep on going to the next one. It’s a hard group between many good teams and I believe that it’s the hardest one in the Champions League but we will take it step by step.”
Peristeri coach Vassilis Spanoulis also commented on the matchup, “It was a great game against a team that is one of the big favorites to win the trophy in the BCL. They have a very deep roster and a very good roster as well as a good organization. I’m very proud of players and team that we were able to play like this in the first half and after lose on a last shot. Last shot, last possession you can win and you can lose it’s a matter of luck sometimes but most important for me is that my player fought a lot and gave everything on the floor.”
Speedy Smith who scored the game winning 3-pointer spoke about the victory, “Our defense stepped in the second half. With Levi Randolph on the team he creates a lot and we like getting the ball in his hands and my boy Deeno (Carrington) was back and god is good from there.
Gaby Chachashvili also looked back at the win, “It was overtime and a it was a tough game. I am happy Speedy hit the shot at the end and that we made some defensive stops as well. Big win. It was fun tonight i came ready and gave whatever i could. I’m happy we came and won the game.”