Ural Great opened their FIBA Europe League account with a 93-75 victory over Latvian club Skonto tonight in Russia.
Ural Great set the tone defensively from the opening buzzer with center Vincent Jones blocking 3 shots in the opening 5 minutes (they finished the game with 10 blocks). On the offensive end, Michael Johnson hit 2 three-pointers and the home team took a 14:4 lead.
|Darren Kelly (left) and Sergei Chikalkin (right)|
Darren Kelly took over from Biedrins in the second quarter, as the US guard exploded for 14 points to bring Skonto right back into the contest, 41:44.
Ural Great were able to use the break to their advantage and they came out after halftime all business. Sharpshooter Sergei Chikalkin hit 2 key three-pointers, while Kelly was forced to the bench with 4 fouls.
With Kelly out of the game, Skonto's offensive game faltered and Ural Great built their lead to 17 points (72:55) at the end of the third.
Ural Great did not loosen their grip on the game in the 4th quarter, and with Kelly and Biedrins both fouled out, Skonto did not have the firepower to make a comeback.
Kelly finished with 18 points for Skonto, although he had 7 turnovers. Biedrins had 19 points and 9 rebounds in a performance which bodes very well for his future.
Ural Great center Vincent Jones was named MVP of the game, and he contributed 14 points, 9 rebounds, 6 blocks and 3 steals to his team's victory. Michael Johnson top scored for Ural Great with 20 points, while Chikalkin added 15 and Ruslan Avleev 14.
|Game MVP Vincent Jones|
Guntis Endzels, Head Coach Skonto Riga:
"I would like to thank my team, Today we were very motivated, we had a very good fighting spirit. The result of the game was determined after our big players got 5 fouls and Chikalkin shot several key three-pointers. "
Darren Kelly, Skonto Riga:
"It is our first game in a European tournament and our first opponent is a very good team. They made us play a different game than we are used to. In the second half they made some key shots and this decided the game."
Sergei Belov, Head Coach Ural Great Perm:
"I am glad my team had the necessary motivation tonight. I think a great desire to win made us make so many mistakes. Unfortunately there were only a few moments tonight that we played the fast basketball I am asking from my players."
Vincent Jones, Ural Great Perm:
"When I came out onto the floor the coach said me calm down and be myself. So I tried to play my game, see what my partners do and help them. As for Skonto, I would say they are a very good team. They are young but they work hard and this makes them better."