Ural Great defeated Khimik 80-67 in the first game of the EuroCup Challenge finals played in Ukraine thanks to an 11-1 run over the final seven minutes of the game.
After Khimik cut Ural Great’s lead to three at 69-66 with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Vadim Panin scored on a dunk, Vasily Karasev connected on a three-pointer and Jurica Golemac hit a jumper and a pair of free-throws over the next three and a half minutes to allow Ural Great to open up a 78-66 lead with 3:35 remaining.
Khimik scored just one point over the final seven minutes of the game
and missed on all six of their field goal attempts.
||Our guys worked hard on every possession and they deserve credit for that.
|Ural Great head coach|
In addition, the Ukrainian club self-destructed, committing seven turnovers on their final 13 possessions.
"Our guys worked hard on every possession and they deserve credit for that," said Ural Great head coach Sharon Drucker.
"We also made some changes and they succeeeded."
Ural Great started the game strong and led 20-12 with one minute remaining in the first quarter of play.
Khimik responded by going on a 16-4 run and led 28-24 with 5:38 to go in the first half.
"We knew it would be a tough game and that Khimik would be a stronger team since we saw them last," said Drucker.
Ural Great then went on a 12-2 run over the final 2:12 of the second quarter and led 39-36 going into halftime.
"We showed good character and concentration especially in the second quarter."
Ural Great had balanced scoring, led by Golemac and Derrick Alston, who each tallied 16.
Dubravko Zemljic led the way for Khimik with 15.
Ural Great now only needs a victory or loss of 12 points or less to win the two-game series and claim the EuroCup Challenge title.
Drucker and his team remained focused on the task at hand.
"You can never celebrate until it is over," he said.
The second game will take place on 23 March in Perm, Russia.