Ural Great Perm got back on the winning track with a blowout 101-73 win over visiting DKV Joventut that makes for a very crowded race in Group A. Both Ural and Joventut are now 3-3, tied for third place with Telekom Baskets Bonn, all three just a victory behind co-leaders Snaidero Udine and Gravelines. Ural made sure of all that with a big second-quarter run that kept Joventut at a distance the rest of the game. The visitors could not stop Ural guard Eddie Shannon, who exploded for 30 points, shooting 10 for 15 (67%) from the field and adding 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Valentin Koubrakov added 14, Chris Anstey contributed 12, while Stefan Nadjfeji and Gintaras Kadziulis added 11 each. Ural Great shot 15 for 25 (60%) on three-pointers, tripling Joventut's production from behind the arc. Joventut got 17 points each from Juan Alberto Espil and Zan Tabak and 16 from Maceo Baston.
Ural Great took its first solid lead of the game in the first period, pushed by guard Gintaras Kdziulis (7 points in the first minutes) and Nadjfeji (9). Badalona stayed in the game thanks to Espil and Tabak, who combined for 13 points in the first period. Ural led 23-18 at that point and was able to retain practically the same advantage when the quarter ended 27-23. Ural came out really strong in the second quarter, however. Anstey started dominating the paint, denying the guests any way to score. Two blocked shots by the Aussie big man opened Ural's fastbreak for business. Badalona was able to score only 5 points in the first 7 minutes, while the hosts let loose with a 17-5 run to take 16-point lead at 44-28. Shannon added great scoring from the perimeter as Ural Great deepened the lead by halftime to 52-34.
Ural didn't stop pushing when third period came. Shannon was no easier to stop for Joventut, which now suffered problems on offense as Espil slowed down. With a 15-8 run to start the half, the Russian hosts took a big 25-point lead, 67-42, that for all practical purposes, put the game out of Joventut's reach. Or so it seemed. Espil returned to shooting form with a couple of three-pointers that soon had the Spanish team adding an 0-10 run to the scoreboard. The visitors could not enjoy it long,however, because in the last minute of the third quarter, Koubrakov and Nadjfeji nailed back-to-back triples to send the lead back up over 20 points, 76-54, after 30 minutes. The last period was nothing but a long wait for the guests while Ural played showtime, crossing the 30-point threshold at 95-64 with 3 minutes to go on Shannon's 30th point. The party was complete when they topped the century mark and left the fans in Perm dreaming about a longer ULEB Cup season.
Wednesday, December 4, 2002