Hapoel Jerusalem bounce back with win over Igokea in last game of 2020
LAKTASI (Bosnia and Herzegovina) - Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem captain J’Covan Brown, who played through the pain in the second half, perfectly embodied the Israeli team's gritty display in what was the last BCL game for 2020, as the Israeli team prevailed 84-68 over Igokea in Group G action to bounce back from their Tuesday loss at the same venue.
The Thursday game took place in Laktasi, just like the Tuesday matchup between the two teams which ended with an Igokea 75.73 win, but the Jerusalem side were the nominal hosts this time around following an agreement between the two clubs to limit travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Turning point: Jerusalem led for most of the night but could not shake off their opponents, until late in the third frame. Tamir Blatt hit a triple 1:26 from the end of the period to put Hapoel ahead 55-52 and spark a 7-2 mini-run to end the quarter. The Israeli side held Igokea scoreless through the first three minutes of the final period and a J’Covan Brown long 2 right at the seven-minute mark stretched Hapoel's lead to 66-54.
Stats don't lie: Jerusalem shared the ball so effectively that they dished out a collective 27 assists but perhaps the biggest improvemen they showed compared to the Tuesday game was on the defensive end, as they forced 21 Igokea turnovers. Full game stats here
Game heroes: J’Covan Brown's determination was inspirational, as he picked up a shoulder injury late in the first half but returned after the interval and orchestrated the Jerusalem defense despite his visible pain. TaShawn Thomas came up with a truly flawless game as he registered a near double-double of 26 points and 9 rebounds on 11 of 12 shooting from the floor, becoming the first player to collect 300 career rebounds in the BCL.
Bottom line: The Israeli team and Igokea are now tied at 2-2 in the Group G standings but Jerusalem have arguably grabbed the inside lane as they have the tie-breaker following this 16-point win. Turk Telekom lead the group on 3-1 and Limoges are bottom of the table on 1-3 .