By Cesare Milanti / info@Eurohoops.net
MALAGA, Spain – Pushed by thousands of fans who followed the team with a march to the Martin Carpena Arena hours before the beginning of the semifinal, Hapoel Jerusalem managed to beat the reigning champions Lenovo Tenerife 69-68 and advance to the final.
Khadeen Carrington played one of the best games of his career, scoring eight straight points after halftime and ending the semifinal with 19 points, and giving his team the lead with 00:20 left by attacking the rim. Siim Sander-Vene added 15 points.
They were followed by the Levi Randolph-Brandon Brown duo: the former had 12 and has now scored more than 800 points in the BCL, and the latter scored 11 and has extended his streak of games with at least one three-pointer to 27 games, only behind Dusan Sakota (35).
Giorgi Shermadini was by far the best player on Lenovo Tenerife’s side in the first half, as the Georgian center ended with 18 points, surpassing the 900-point barrier in the competition. He’s now the second player ever to score more than this amount in BCL history after Vojtech Hruban with 996.
Marcelinho Huertas produced another classic performance, ending with an amazing stat line of 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. The Brazilian is the fifth player to have scored 16 or more points in multiple BCL semi-finals, after Vítor Benite (3), Kevin Punter, Nicolas Brussino, and Tyrese Rice (2 each).
Hapoel found the first lead with 2:15 left in the second quarter, as Lenovo Tenerife managed to take control in the very beginning. On the opposite, the team from Jerusalem quickly created a 10-point lead to begin the second half.
After creating the comeback in the first half, Aleksandar Dzikic’s team took care of business in the second with aggressiveness on defense and efficiency from three on offense. However, Lenovo Tenerife turned things up once again, going up 59-58 with a layup by Fran Guerra with 3:25 left. Siim-Sander Vene produced a four-point play with 00:47 left to tie things up at 67-67, and then Khadeen Carrington sealed the deal.
After going 0/3 from beyond the arc until the last seconds of the second quarter, Hapoel Jerusalem managed to turn things under its control from deep, ending the game by shooting 56.25%. The reigning champions, instead, struggled with 5/22 at shooting threes. Txus Vidorreta’s team, however, was way better than its opponents at dishing assists (19 vs 8), stealing the ball (11 vs 6), and scoring in the paint (30 vs 18).
The Canarian side will now play the 3rd place final on Sunday, scheduled at 17:00 CET. Hapoel Jerusalem, instead, will fight for the gold against the winner of the second semifinal between Unicaja Malaga and Telekom Baskets Bonn.
PHOTO CREDIT: Basketball Champions League