Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Peristeri Basketball Club 91-78 to win game one of their best of three Champions League Round of 16 playoff series. The game was played behind closed doors without fans due to the Israeli government’s Coronavirus ban on holding events with more than 5000 people. The Athens based squad frustrated the Reds for the first three quarters, but were able to breakaway in the final frame to take the 13-point victory. Tashawn Thomas led the way for Oded Katash’s team with 16 points and 7 rebounds, Shelvin Mack scored 15 points and added 5 boards and 5 assists, James Feldeine each added 15 points while J’Covan Brown chipped in with 13 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds in the win. Yanick Moreira was the Peristeri high scorer with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Kane and Will Hatcher each added 13 points a piece.
Peristeri jumped all over Jerusalem early in the first quarter with points in the paint by veteran forward Panagiotis Vasilopoulos and the recently signed DeAndre Kane while James Feldeine and a triple by John Holland kept the Reds close, down 14-11 midway through the frame. Yanick Moreira scored inside but Shelvin Mack, Suleiman Braimoh and Feldeine all hit from deep forcing the visitors to call timeout. But another Feldeine triple gave Oded Katash’s a 25-18 lead after ten minutes.
New signing Emanuel Terry began the second quarter with a monster dunk and added another one a minute later to extend the Reds advantage while Feldeine went deep again and Tashawn Thomas added points to increase the lead to 35-23 with 7:29 left in the half. Thomas scored another bucket but Christos Saloustros found the basket for Peristeri and William Hatcher drilled home a trio of shots from beyond the arc to keep Coach Nikos Papanikolopoulos’s squad competitive down 41-39 with three minutes remaining in the frame. Mack scored free throws and a basket and J’Covan Brown did as well but Moriera added a pair of buckets as Jerusalem headed into halftime with a 2-point 48-46 lead.
Moreira opened the second half just as he ended the first with four more points but Brown, Braimoh and Feldeine all scored while Mack added five straight points to stay in front 60-59 midway through the third quarter. Kane scored in the paint, but Holland drilled home a triple and Braimoh slammed a big time dunk. Steve Gray hit free throws and a 3-pointer however, Nimrod Levi punctuated the third quarter with a 3-pointer to give the Reds a 72-67 advantage after thirty minutes.
Brown and Holland began the final frame with triples while Thomas scored inside as Jerusalem increased their lead to 80-69 with six minutes remaining in regulation time. Gaios Skordilis and Zois Karampelas scored for Peristeri but Thomas scored yet again as did Braimoh to hand the Reds a 1-0 series lead in their best of three Round of 16 playoff tilt.