Ural Great Claim Trophy Despite Final Loss

23.03.2006

They may have lost on the night, but despite a 74-80 defeat at the hands of Khimik Yuzhny, Ural Great Perm lifted the EuroCup Challenge trophy in front of 7,000 home fans on Thursday.

Having won the first encounter in the two-leg final 80-67, Ural Great could afford to lose the second game by as many as 12 points and still win the competition.

With a 72-59 lead at the 32-minute mark, it was clear to all involved that Khimik's chances of a comeback were effectively over.

"There was no real meaning in the fourth quarter, we were up 16 points so our determination went down," explained coach Sharon Drucker of his side's inability to close out the game.

"I am very happy to bring the title to Perm. Our target was to win the cup and our players justified that today by proving that we were the best team in the competition," he added.

Ural Great were undefeated going into the contest and their 11 victories had included 3 previous wins against Khimik.

FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin presents Vasily Karasev with the cup.
FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin presents Vasily Karasev with the cup.
Motivation was a key factor for Drucker and his players were explained their task going into the game in no uncertain terms.

"We told the guys, we are 11-0, the cup is ours and we are going to take it," he said.

The pep talk seemed to work as Ural Great lived up to their billing in the first half.

Khimik managed to stay in contact for the opening 5 minutes (15-15), but Slovenian international Jurica Golemac scored 6 points in the final minutes of the period and Ural Great led 25-20 at the end of the first quarter.

The second period belonged to the red hot Derrick Alston as he exploded for 14 points and Ural Great held a commanding 56-40 halftime lead.

The home side kept Khimik at bay in the third quarter, leading by as many as 23 points, and it soon became clear to the 7,000 fans in the arena that Ural Great were not to be denied.

Khimik's fourth quarter comeback owed as much to a Ural Great side who knew that the title was theirs, as much as it did to their own tenacity.

The Ukrainian side should be commended for their valiant fourth quarter effort, in which they outscored Ural Great 25-3, but ultimately, it proved fruitless.

Derrick Alston finished with a game high 24 points for Ural Great. Lyday added 11 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists and Golemac had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists for Ural Great, who dished a total of 21 assists, to just 8 for Khimik.

Dubravko Zemljic led Khimik with 14 points.


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