In this evening's Group B match-up, fourth-placed Azovmash was looking for their fifth consecutive win in the FIBA Europe League against the number one team, Besiktas JK.
Feeling the pressure to maintain their winning streak, the host team came out sluggish. The duo of point guard Khalid El-Amin and center Ratko Varda put the visiting Turkish team up by three at the end of the first period.
At the start of the second quarter Azovmash's center, Art Long, finally woke up. He made his inside presence known on both ends of the court with his powerful offensive and defensive rebounds. The home team fed off of Long's performance and took a 44-40 halftime lead.
In the third quarter Long, Lior Lubin, Volodymyr Gurtovyy, and Arnas Kazlauskas all contributed strong play which resulted in a seven-point advantage for Azovmash going into the final period.
Midway through the final ten minutes of play the home had built their lead up to ten points and was fairly confident that they would win. However Besiktas, led by El-Amin's two fast breaks and two three-pointers, were able to draw even at 77-77 at the end of regulation forcing overtime.
At the start of overtime Azovmash's leader Long received his fifth personal foul and was forced to watch from the bench. The home team's other big man, Gurtovyy, stepped up his game and shocked Besiktas with a dunk and an outside shot.
This proved to be the crushing blow and the guests were forced to result to fouling. Azovmash shot 75% from the charity stripe and went on to win their fifth FIBA Europe League game 104-96. The home team was led by Long (21 pts, 18 rebs), Gurtovyy (19pts), Lubin (19pts), and Kazlauskas (18 pts).
Besiktas were led by El-Amin (35 points) and Varda (28 pts).
Ihsan Baulken, Head Coach, Besiktas JK:
"The game was really exciting and I think those who could see it were lucky. It's our first season in EuroLeague, so we are just learning. Azovmash completely used its home advantage making 25 offensive rebounds. Regardless of our loss we continue keeping only the positive from each match."
Rimas Girskis, Head Coach, Azovmash Mariupol:
"It was a tough, tough game. Besiktas played at top of its level and I can say the Turkish team is the one that can give a good battle to any team in Europe. I am a little disappointed that we led the game that was practically ours into the over-time. Still, I am glad that all the guys played as a whole and showed their character and a team spirit. Tonight we made a big step further in our game and I am thankful to all of the players for that."
Arnas Kazlauskas, Azovmash Mariupol:
"Over-time is always a great challenge. But feeling the help of our fans we scored practically all the free throws. Home arena made the game a little easier."