After a disastrous 0-4 start, Ural Great finally got their first win of the FIBA Europe League season, 84-86 in a close encounter with Ukrainian champions Azovmash Mariupol.
Azovmash have had their own problems this season and tonight saw the debut of new signings Art Long and Dragan Markovic.
But the new boys couldn't prevent another loss after a furious finish in which Azomash nearly stole a come-from-behind victory.
The home team struggled in the opening period. They made just 3/21 shots which allowed Ural Great, led by Sam Hoskins (23 points) and Sharon Shason (22 points) to grab an early 10-point lead.
Azomash remained behind for the remainder of the game, but gradually they began to narrow Ural Great's advantage. It was Lithuanian forward Arnas Kazlauskas who gave Azovmash the chance for victory. He nailed two big three-pointers in the 4th period to bring the home side back in contention and with 2 minutes to go, the game was tied 78-78.
But Azovmash could not put the final touches on their rally. They were outscored 5-0 by Ural Great and a costly turnover by Sergiy Moskalenko put paid to any game-winning shot attempt.
Sergey Belov, Head Coach, Ural Great Perm:
"My teammates came to this game in poor psychological state, facing no victories in EuroLeague so far. Obviously, tonight's victory was vital for us. I am surely happy about the result as the coach. Though, as the former player I don't see any excuses for going down from 10 points advantage in the first quarter to 2 points in final one."
Andrey Podkovyrov, Head Coach, Azovmash Mariupol:
"We are in a such situation that in order to go further in this tournament, we need to win every home game. We could do it tonight. Honestly, I cannot explain what happened to the players. The first quarter they played with lots of unnecessary middle shots did not go for rebounds. I think the score 9:19 speaks for itself. Only 9 points in 10 minutes is the worst result we've ever had."