By Eurohoops Team/ email@example.com
Without the help of the Pais Arena crowd, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem beat Peristeri winmasters, 91-78, on Wednesday evening. Oded Kattash’s side secured a 1-0 lead in the Basketball Champions League Round of 16 best-of-three series.
James Feldeine started hot en route for 15 points behind 4/8 from the field. TaShawn Thomas ended up with a team-high 16 points, while J’Covan Brown chipped in with 13 points and eight assists. Adding on the double-digit scoring performances were Shelvin Mack with 15 points and Suleiman Braimoh with 11.
Tamir Blatt suffered an injury and an early exit. “With Tamir out, we needed him,” said Feldeine on Mack covering for his teammate, “He is a vet. He’s been in this situation before. He stayed ready. He knows what to do.”
In his debut with the Israeli outlet, Emanuel Terry made a positive impact with a couple of dunks, five points and three boards in just over 14 minutes. “He’s been here only two days. Overall he is going to help us,” mentioned Feldeine on the 23-year-old American big’s first appearance with the Jerusalem jersey.
“It was weird without our home crowd,” admitted Kattash tipping off the post-game press conference, “We need the energy from the crowd. We expected it to start the playoffs. Ultimately, our defense in the second half made the difference.”
The hosts dropped their double-digit lead and trailed for parts of the third period. A fast-paced 6-0 run late in the quarter got them back in charge. Taking advantage of the opponents’ turnovers and extending the push into the final period allowed Hapoel to regain the double-digit cushion.
“It was a clear win for Jerusalem,” head coach Nikos Papanikolopoulos noted, “We made a few mistakes and they gained a lead over ten points. It was hard to come back. Our biggest problems were in defense.”
The visitors failed to hold on, even though Yanick Moreira dominated the paint with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double. Will Hatcher put up 13 points behind four threes and DeAndre Kane finished his Champions League debut with 13 points of his own.
The match was played behind closed doors. “To guarantee the safety and security of participating players, coaches and officials, and to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” noted BCL, “The decision was taken according to World Health Organization regulations and the Israeli Ministry of Health directives.”
Game 2 is scheduled to take place next Wednesday in Greece. If a third contest is needed, the two teams will meet again in Israel one week later.
Postgame press conference:
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League