“This was a very important win” CJ Harris & Hapoel Holon down Cholet 73-63 to take first win in Champions League: 3-Pointers, Analysis, Highlights & more!

Hapoel Holon defeated Cholet Basket 73-63 in Champions League play for their first win in continental action this season as they evened their record at 1-1. Stefanos Dedas’s squad controlled the pace of play throughout the 40 minutes as CJ Harris, Isaiah Miles and Chris Johnson provided the offense in a game that felt as if it was never in doubt for the hosts.

Harris led all scorers with 25 points, Miles added 17 points while Johnson checked in with 12 points in the win. Gerry Blakes was the main man for Cholet with 19 points in the defeat which dropped the club to 0-2.

Rich Howell – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Rich Howell and CJ Harris pushed Hapoel Holon out front 10-7 midway through the first quarter while Chris Johnson scored 6 points to finish the frame off and give the hosts a 20-11 lead after ten minutes.

Isaiah Miles – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Guy Pnini drilled home a triple to get the second quarter off and running, Johnson padded his total with a layup and Isaiah Miles went from deep but Gerry Blakes scored points for Cholet to keep the French team in the game but down 28-18 with 6:30 remaining until halftime. Lasan Kromah and Blakes hit their shots as did Yoan Makoudou on an assist by Michael Stockton to cut the lead to juts 2-points, 33-31 with 2:34 to go. Harris went for a driving layup and then a pair of triples to keep Stefanos Dedas’s team ahead 41-36.

CJ Harris – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Miles opened up the third quarter with a 3-pointer but former Eilat forward Kyvon Davenport scored at the other end but Miles went deep from the corner to give Holon a 51-42 lead midway through the frame. Harris cut the the paint for a dunk, but Stockton and Gregor Hrovat scored to stay in the game down 55-47 after thirty minutes.

Michael Stockton – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Stockton scored a runner and one, but Tyrus McGee and Harris found the bottom of the basket to stay in front 63-56 with 4:52 left in regulation. Kromah scored off the baseline but Johnson put in free throws, blocked a shot and then put in a layup while Miles scored one as well to give Holon a 10-point victory.

Stefanos Dedas – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

1) Holon was in control of the game from beginning to end and it never felt as if Cholet was going to threaten the Israeli club despite pulling to within a few points a couple of times over the course of the contest. Coach Dedas was able to maintain the advantage throughout the 40 minutes as his players kept to the game plan, “We controlled 90% of the flow of the game and it’s due to the tempo I chose to set. I slowed down the offense and we had more legs to play defense.” Cholet guard Michael Stockton who also happens to be the son of basketball Hall of Famer as well as Dream Team member John Stockton, spoke about just not having enough to make the plays to take the win, “We had our opportunities. We would get a stop and then we would give up an offensive rebound and then points. It’s all about making the right plays and good passes at the right time.” Would having Karl Malone make a difference? “That would have helped.”

CJ Harris – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

2) CJ Harris was fabulous as he looked cool, calm and collected in his 30+ minutes of play. So cool Harris was that it was if he didn’t even work in a sweat. How about these numbers: 25 points, 6/7 from 2, 2/4 from 3, 7/7 from the line, 4 assists and 3 steals for an efficiency rating of 27. Not too shabby. When Harris goes to the line it’s money in the bank. He is so aware of what he needs to do and where he needs to be on the court it’s scary. High basketball IQ and boy has Dedas found a gem. Harris spoke about the win following the game, “We wanted to take our time and execute and focus on defense and we also found the mismatches. This was a very important win, especially at home as we only have a few games left in the competition. Anytime you play at home you want to take care of home court. We will build on this game and fix what needs to be worked on.”

Stefanos Dedas – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

3) Coach Dedas understood that he needed to win this game at all costs and couldn’t take a chance not finding a way to be victorious. He understood that on Saturday night against Rishon when he pulled his team back from running themselves out of energy and he understood that he needed to make sure that his team was in the proper mental zone going into a game that was really so important due to only having six group stage games this year in the Champions League. “It was a very crucial game for us and we had amazing momentum a week before. We played great at AEK but came up short and we had a bad quarter at Rishon, but I told the guys let’s not let that break the good momentum and if you want to reach lofty goals you have to play great defense. I like the challenge and criticism that we should become better. We proved that if we want to we can play defense. We won by ten points and that’s good should we need the point differential down the road.”

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