A 3rd quarter surge from Ural Great Perm was enough for them to see of play-off opponents Strauss Iscar Nahariya and book a ticket to the FEL Final Four.
The Israeli side were in control for the majority of the first half, before the home team finally took the lead in the 3rd period.
Indeed Nahariya started the game the stronger side and took an early 11:4 lead. Zakhar Pashutin and Ruslan Avleev answered for Ural Great, but they couldn’t prevent a Nahariya lead at the break, 18:24.
Ural Great chipped away at the advantage and some good defense allowed them to reduce Nahariya’s lead to just 1-point at halftime, 40:41.
The break served to work in favour of Ural Great and they made their run after halftime. Led by the Baltic trio of Ksistof Lavrinovic, Sandis Buskevics and Raimonds Vaikulis, Ural Great pulled back the lead and built a lead of their own.
The run did not kill Nahariya off totally and they got back to within 3 points at 66:69. However, Sharon Shason made a crucial turnover and it was punished with baskets by Lavrinovic and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Nahariya tried a full court press but time ran out and Ural Great were the winners.
Lavrinovic was the MVP of the game and put on a dominant display, scoring 21 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking 7 shots. Avleev added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Nahariya struggled with their shooting throughout the game, connecting on just 40% of their 2-point shots and 22% on 3-pointers. Stevin Smith was the top scorer with 17 points, to which he also added 9 assists and 6 steals.
Sergey Belov, Head Coach, Ural Great Perm:
"It was not an easy night. We committed some mistakes but I think the last 5-6 minutes were the best in the game when we worked the hardest in defense and managed to stay and win
it. As a coach I think that qualifying to the Final Four is a very good result of our work throughout this season."
Avi Ashkenazi, Head coach Strauss Iscar Nahariya:
"It was a tough game in a strong competition. I think home court advantage was very important. I think we lost the game in a few minutes of the first half when we lost concentration and then after that in the third quarter we also were not focused enough to make up the score deficit. This is basketball and I feel that we did the maximum we could and I am very proud of my players. I think in this competition we represented our town and country very well."
Ksistof Lavrinovic, Ural Great Perm:
"It was a very good game. We needed to win it only and our motivation for this game was the highest. Today Ural Great showed true team spirit that helped us stay in the match and get the only necessary result for us - qualification to the Final Four."
Stevin Smith, Ironi Iscar Nahariya:
"This game developed very evenly and I would say that nobody could predict who would be the winner of it up to the last minute. We missed a few important shots while Ural Great was more successful which became the most decisive."