By John Askounis/ email@example.com
A game for the Basketball Champions League record books took place on Tuesday evening at Vechta, Germany. RASTA Vechta supporters attempted to help the hosts get back in the game, but Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem almost refused entirely to miss any shot inside the rainbow and held on for the Regular Season Gameday 10 “W”.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game” mentioned Oded Kattash in the postgame press conference, “Most of the game we stuck to our plan defensively.”
New Basketball Champions League record
Defense was certainly a key, but shooting percentages were on another level. TaShawn Thomas led the way with 10/10 from the field including 9/9 two-pointers. Taking his effort into account, Hapoel Jerusalem made 22 out of its 26 two-point attempts. A new Champions League record was set with the corresponding 84.6%.
|Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem vs. RASTA Vechta (7/1/20)||84.6%|
|Pinar Karsiyaka vs. AS Monaco (7/2/18)||81.8%|
|MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg vs. Proximus Spirou (9/11/16)||76.9%|
|Nizhny Novgorod vs. Le Mans (6/11/18)||76.9%|
|Telekom Baskets Bonn vs. Fribourg Olympic (30/10/18)||75.8%|
“When you play against a team like Jerusalem, you can’t afford to give up a quarter like we did with the second one” pointed out Vechta head coach, Pedro Calles. The second period featured 28 points for Hapoel Jerusalem behind 4/5 twos. The home side only scored 11 points.
Building on strengths
Aside Thomas, players like James Feldeine, J’Covan Brown and Tamir Blatt can undoubtedly pour points. Enter newcomer John Holland into the offensive options of the Israeli club that are capable of disrupting the defense of any team. He threw in 17 points for his BCL debut.
“I give credit to my teammates for embracing me. They made it an easy transition” said the 31-year-old American one week into his Hapoel Jerusalem tenure, “There are no easy games in the Champions League, especially on the road. A game we can really build on and hopefully continue on our goals.”
Marching towards the playoffs
The win at Germany improved the W-L tally to 7-3. No clinching scenarios just yet, but the team from Israel controls its fate in Group B with four games left. Top four teams will advance to the playoffs, while the top two will carry a home-court advantage into the Round of 16.
Since late November, Hapoel Jerusalem has played 13 games in the BCL and in Israel’s Super League, won every single time except for its collision with AEK in Athens. The 91-78 defeat in Regular Season Gameday 9 action pushed away first place and labeled the Queen as the favorite, but Hapoel is still odds-on for second place.
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League