Hapoel Jerusalem was looking to run and gun last night against Den Bosch, the team with the worst offense of Group I, but the Israelis went far beyond their expectation in routing the Dutch, 112-97.
Hapoel's attack was both balanced and relentless. Not only did three starters and two bench players hit double figures, none of them scored fewer than 17. Shooting 61.7 percent from two-point range and 56.5 percent from three-point land, Hapoel was truly unstoppable last night.
It didn't look like it would be a blow out in the beginning, as the teams traded the lead throughout the first period. But the crucial contribution of Hapoel's sixth and seventh men helped Jerusalem break free from Den Bosch.
Anthony Roberson, who gave Hapoel the lead to stay on a three-pointer with four seconds remaining in the first quarter, made the most efficient use of his time, coming off the bench to score 21 points in just 17 minutes while shooting a sizzling 5-for-6 from behind the arc.
The starters were no less important in setting the game's tone, characterized by several small spurts. Sharon Shason was dominant in the first half, where he picked up 15 of his team-leading 23 points.
In last night's other game, Galil Elyon lost, as expected, to Russian team Triumph Lyubertsy, 82-73, but their preparations were not helped by coach Eli Canetti's pre-match resignation, which left assistant coach Nati Cohen in charge.
Canetti told a press conference before the game that "I'm responsible for the team's situation, and its lack of victories. After Sunday's defeat [to Hapoel Afula-Gilboa] I spoke to [club owner] Haim Ohayon and offered my resignation. I thought that a change was needed to improve the team's position."
The game against the strongest team in the group saw Galil Elyon get off to a good start, taking a 23-17 lead in the first quarter. But the Russians managed to claw back to end the first half 42-42, and from then on, their better quality stood out and they finished the game easy winners.
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