Besiktas ColaTurka avenged its only loss of the ULEB Cup season and defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 73-53 on Tuesday evening to clinch a spot in the Last 16. Besiktas used a 14-0 fourth-quarter run to eclipse an 88-73 loss in the first leg last week in Israel. Besiktas will face either Red Star Belgrade or Benetton Tamoil Treviso in the next round. Jerusalem becomes the first former ULEB Cup champ to be eliminated this season. The visitors were strong in the fight for most of the game, as Besiktas didn’t take its first double-digit lead until the fourth quarter. But as the well-balanced Besiktas attack continued to find options, Jerusalem fell apart after star forward Jamie Arnold fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. Jerusalem had no answers for Besiktas, whose players’ confidence grew as the crowd got louder, reeling off a game-breaking run. Rick Apodaca finally helped the hosts reach the 15-point margin and Christian Dalmau passed it from the line on the next possession as Besiktas rolled to victory. Hapoel finished the fourth quarter with just 8 points. Apodaca led Besiktas with 15 points, and Dalmau, Kaya Peker and Sandro Nicevic added 13 each. Peker also had 4 steals and Nicevic grabbed 10 rebounds. Sharon Shason paced Hapoel with 13 points and Dror Hagag added 12 in defeat.
Besiktas won the opening tip and went right to work with Peker opening the scoring inside. Hagag answered on Hapoel’s first possession as the teams traded baskets for much of the opening minutes. Besiktas made its first move when Apodaca scored twice and Peker added a bucket inside as the hosts went up 13-7. Jerusalem close the gap with free throws and then Arnold stepped up with a block on one end and a lay-in at the other to get the visitors within 1. Dalmau kept Besiktas in control with a three-pointer, but Noel Felix, who came in when Arnold picked up his second foul, finished a pick-and-roll with a basket and added a second on the offensive glass to tie the game at 16-16 after 10 minutes. Felix posted up for his third straight basket to open the second period, but Sinan Guler scored over Felix to keep things close. The hosts got a lucky break when Timmy Bowers tried to save a loose ball, but it bounced into the hands of Mehmet Yagmur who promptly drilled a triple. Cevher Ozer then corrected Preston Shumpert’s miss to make it 27-23, resulting in a Jerusalem timeout. Both teams started to struggle a bit offensively, but Hagag was able to keep his team from falling too far behind. Nicevic picked up a basket-plus foul on the offensive glass and followed it with a mid-range jumper as the lead grew to 35-28. Apodaca drilled another jumper, but after another Jerusalem timeout, Yehu Orland came off the bench for a three and then a Hagag steal led to a Bowers basket as the visitors got back in business by halftime, 37-33.
Yagmur scored first as Besiktas looked better coming out of the locker rooms, but even more important was Hagag picking up two quick fouls, leaving Hapoel’s lone natural playmaker with 4 fouls and 18 minutes to play. Shumpert increased the difference to 8 from the line, however the visitors stayed alive through a Shason three. While Jerusalem struggled, the Besiktas attack also looked out of sync and the hosts failed to capitalize. However in the final minute of the period, Apodaca converted a three-point play and Dalmau drilled a triple at the buzzer to make it 54-45 heading into the fourth quarter. The start of the deciding period was characterized by nerves and many missed shots. Predrag Drobnjak got Besiktas closer to its 16-point target when he scored inside. Shason and Dalmau swapped triples, but Hagag cut through the hosts’ defense to make it 59-51 – increasing Hapoel’s aggregate lead to 7. Arnold fouled out with five-and-a-half minutes to go, leaving Hapoel without its top low-post scorer. However Besiktas came up empty handed on its next two trips downcourt. However Jerusalem also failed to generate points. Guler drilled a triple to charge the hosts and Nicevic scored inside to bring Besiktas closer than ever, 64-51 with just over three minutes remaining. Apodaca put Besiktas up 15 from the line, tying the overall score. Dalmau gave the hosts their first aggregate lead when he made it 67-51 from the line as Felix also fouled out. With the game on the line, the visitors continued to look anemic with the ball. An Apodaca pull-up jumper was another nail in the Jerusalem coffin, a Guler layup padded the lead and after a Hapoel turnover and a Dalmau bucket, the home fans could finally start celebrating a spot in the Last 16.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008