In a showdown between the fourth and fifth ranked teams in Group B of the FIBA Europe League, Ural Great Perm played host to Ionikos NF Amaliada. Ural Great, who finished in fourth place last year have had a tough start to their season, dropping five of their six games.
The game opened up in favor of Ionikos. Two three-pointers by Georgios Giannouzakos and a bucket from Antti Nikkilä put the visitors up by five points.
After the seventh minute of play, the Greek team saw their lead increase to 10 points. Thanks to strong play by Sam Hoskin, Ural Great fought back and started the second quarter seven points behind.
Ural Great carried over their momentum from the final minutes of play in the first quarter into the beginning of the second quarter. With the efforts once again of Hoskin and Sharon Shason, the home team captured the lead at the 15 minute mark (35-34).
Once attaining a slight advantage over Ionikos, Ural Great slowly started to gain confidence and take control over the game. The end of the first half was marked by mistakes from both teams, however Ural Great led 47-45 at the break.
Offensive play in the third quarter developed slowly as only four points in total were scored in the first three minutes of play. By the middle of the quarter the two teams seemed to have settled down and found their rhythm as Prodromos Nikolaidis led the visitors and Shason the home team.
The final quarter started out with the two teams locked at 63-63. In trying to break the deadlock, Mikhail Mikhaylov of Ural Great successfully tallied a two-point basket. After several missed shots by the home team, Giannouzakos of Ionikos received an unsportsmanlike foul and Shason converted on two free-throws.
At this point Ural Great had a 10-point lead which was then further increased when Shason nailed a three-pointer (75-62). Ionikos continued to fight back and were down by four points with a minute left on the clock.
However in the crucial points of the game, Ural Great proved to be the stronger team and they went on to win 82-77. This win marked their second win in the FIBA Europe League.
Georgios Zevgolis, Head coach of Ionikos Amaliada:
"It was a bad game in front of very good spectators. We came here without our main point guard Mirza Kurtovic and we had problems in organizing our team offensively. But despite everything we tried to play well.
I am glad Sanya Giffa came back to the active roster after his injury because he is a very important player for us. I know their coaches are very good and I think that Ural Great deserved this win especially with the help of the spectators."
Sergey Belov, Head coach of Ural Great Perm:
"I think we still miss something in our team game, we play in intervals: good moments are followed by mistakes. It would be good if we, having achieved an advantage of 10-12 points, could keep this difference but I guess the level of some of our players does not allow them do it.
We missed Golemac who is sidelined due to his injury and another leader Sam Hoskin cannot play at the same high level having performed perfectly in the national championship game that we played on Sunday. However I did not ask my players to make a big difference in score, as long as we play this way it is not the time to ask such things. A win is a win. It was hard but we deserved it."
Sharon Shason, Ural Great Perm:
"It was our home game and it was important for us to show a victory to our home fans. We have only had one win in the FIBA Europe League competition so far and so this victory means a lot for us to boost our confidence. I am happy I scored a lot of points but I am glad even more because my team won the game."