Ural Great Perm opened their EuroCup Challenge season with a nail-biter on Wednesday night against visiting side Khimik from Ukraine.
Trailing by 6 points going into the final quarter Ural Great left it literally to the last minute and it was Vadim Panin's three-pointer that lifted them to victory in a thrilling contest, 87-86.
6,500 fans turned out in Perm to watch the home side open their season in Europe, and they were not dissapointed as both sides put on an offensive show.
After a fast start from the home side (Ural Great opened the game with an 8-2 run) the game quickly evened out as Khimik got a handle on Ural Great's fastbreak.
It was the visitors who grabbed the initiative in the third period behind a red hot Juris Umbrasko. He hit all three of his three-point attempts in the period, including two in a row, to put Khimik up 64-70 after 30 minutes.
Ural Great Coach Sharon Drucker turned to his trio of foreigners Jasmin Hukic (BIH), Jurica Golemac (SLO) and Andre Hutson (USA) in the final quarter and it paid off. They brought their side back into contention in the fourth and with 2 minutes to play, the scores were tied 82-82.
With only 2 possessions remaining, Ural Great found an open Vadim Panin in the corner and his three put the Russian side up 87-86.
Panin had actually missed his opening seven three-point attempts, but found the perfect time to bury his first of the night.
Khimik were left with one final shot attempt, but could not convert, leaving a relieved Ural Great with a win.
Kukic top scored for Ural Great with 19 points while Golemac and new signing Terrell Lyday had 16 apiece.
Jurica Golemac, Ural Great:
We are still looking for our game. But I think this victory was important for our confidence. The game was tough. And I hope from this time we are going to become better and better.
Sharon Drucker, Head coach Ural Great:
It was our first game at home and it is always a pressure. Especially because of the two losses we had in the two games we played in the beginning of the season in the national championship. My players wanted to win this game. We showed our character in this tough game.
Zvezdan Mitrovic, Head coach Khimik Yuzhny:
It was a very good game, I think the fans enjoyed it today. I am satisfied with my team. To lose the game by one point only is a good result taking into consideration that we came to Perm without our two big guys: Dragan Doicin and Elvir Ovcina stayed at home because of their injuries. Stupid mistakes in the last few seconds of the game cost us victory.
Juris Umbrasko, Khimik Yuzhny:
The game was equal. Both teams fought, gave all efforts to win. We missed a little bit of patience which resulted in mistakes. It was a pleasure to play in front of such a public. I thank all fans of basketball who came to see this game.