Two traditional clubs already eliminated from the Eurocup treated fans in Zagreb to a decent battle on Tuesday, but in the end visiting Hapoel Jerusalem denied a first victory to host Cibona with a 78-86 victory. Hapoel finished the regular season 2-4, good for third place in Group A, while Cibona finished 0-6 despite having won a game in the pre-season Euroleague Qualifying Rounds. Brian Randle led the winners with 17 points, while Luke Jackson and Dan Grunfeld had 13 each, and Jarvis Varnado 11. Cibona got 15 points from Brian Chase, 13 from Davor Kus, 12 from Jure Lalic and 11 from Antwain Barbour. Jackson's triple-shot of three-pointers in 67 seconds before halftime gave Hapoel leads it did not relinquish the rest of the way.
Barbour and Lalic raced Cibona out to a quick 8-2 advantage before Jerusalem tied thanks to a couple layups by Grunfeld. Barbour kept pumping in the points, 5 more himself, to push Cibona ahead 15-8. Hapoel came right back and tied again, however, and tied on a dunk by Randle. Elishay Kadir then gave the visitors their first lead, which they held onto at 18-19 after one quarter on another dunk, this one by John Thomas. Cibona chased down the lead at 25-21 on 5 quick points by Chase, but again Hapoel surged to tie and go ahead on a Thomas layup. He and Luke Jackson soon combined on 6 consecutive points as Hapoel moved ahead 30-35. Then it was Jackson time as Hapoel's sharpshooter drilled 3 three-pointers in the last 67 seconds before halftime to put the visitors in control, 36-45, after 20 minutes.
Randle and Grunfeld scored the first 6 points after halftime to push Hapoel's advantage to 36-51. Cibona could not outgun their guests, however, with mostly free throws in the third quarter as Hapoel's lead kept climbing to 48-66. Chase returned with 5 points in a row, but Hapoel was still in control, 56-70 after 30 minutes. A third three-pointer by Chase lowered the difference to single digits, 65-74, in the final quarter. Free throws by Lalic and back-to-back baskets by Kus, the second from downtown, suddenly had Cibona within 78-80 with under 90 seconds to play. Hapoel 's defense did the rest, as Cibona did not score again and the visitors closed their season with a first road win in the group.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011