Hapoel Jerusalem exploded for 44 fourth-quarter points to put away Turkish club Galatasaray 111-98. Combined with Valencia's 91-81 triumph over Rubin Kazan, this will advance Jerusalem to the Eurocup quarterfinals from second place behind the Spanish club in the Group J division.
Galatasaray forced a fast-paced game, as it has the whole campaign: Despite being winless, it led the division with a scoring average of 87.7 points per game. Although it fell behind 32-22 in the first period, it caught up and tied Hapoel at the half 51-all.
"The first half wasn't quite our pace," said Hapoel coach Guy Goodes after the game. "But Yuval got into the game really well. He deserves all the credit. He gave a great game."
Indeed, Naimy had a career night, with 25 points, and kept Hapoel in the game by scoring 20 in the first half.
Ironically, the game slowed down in the third, but to the Turkish team's advantage, and Hapoel found itself trailing by six. Although the knowledge that Valencia was winning over in Spain meant Hapoel would advance even with a loss, Jerusalem still wanted to end this section on a high note.
Tre Simmons, who finished with 27 points, helped come to the rescue on offense, while Dijon Thompson woke up on defense.
Goodes called it a big accomplishment to advance to the quarterfinals. "For sure the name of the game is consistency and stability," he said. "It's still hard for us to switch between Europe and Israel. You lose the intensity. I know it, and we talk about it."
Hapoel will meet Alba Berlin in the quarterfinals.
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