|Aaron Mc Ghee hit a definitive jump-shot in overtime as Ural Ekaterinburg held on to win 88-85|
Ural Ekaterinburg managed to shake off a persistent Fortress Jaszberenyi in overtime on Tuesday and prevailed 88-85 at home to improve to 2-1 in EuroChallenge Regular Season Group F.
The Russian hosts appeared to seize control of proceedings against a visiting side that arrived in Ekaterinburg with two defeats in as many games, when they jumped out to a 21-11 lead early in the second quarter.
However, once the Hungarians started establishing their dominance inside, they managed to score successive easy baskets around the rim and balanced the encounter.
Jaszberenyi, who had 48 points in the paint on the night (Ekaterinburg only scored 18 points inside), reduced the gap to 35-34 at the half-time buzzer and returned even stronger after the break.
Serbian big man Rastko Dramicanin, who collected a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds, sparked a 10-0 Jaszberenyi run when play resumed and the guests not only went ahead for the first time, but also grabbed a 44-35 cushion midway through the third quarter.
Ekaterinburg gradually clawed their way back and when Anton Glazunov and Fedor Kliuchnikov sunk two three-pointers each at the start of the fourth quarter, the hosts were back in the driver's seat, 68-63, with 6:58 left in the frame.
Nebojsa Dukity however scored five quick-fire points of his own to make sure the hosts would not pull away and the two sides exchanged punches until 10 seconds before the end of regulation, when Jaszberenyi sent Aaron Mc Ghee to the foul line.
The veteran center hit one of two free-throws to make it 77-75 for Ekaterinburg and Nicholas Raivio split the Russian defence on the final possession to tie the scores at 77 and send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Ekaterinburg grabbed five vital consecutive rebounds on both ends of the floor and Mc Ghee redeemed himself by hitting a jumper than gave the hosts an 86-81 lead which proved definitive, 34 seconds from the final buzzer.
Glazunov paved the way for the winners with a double-double of 17 points and 10 assists, also adding five rebounds, Mc Ghee finished with 18 points and three boards and Lance Harris picked up 16 points and six rebounds.
In addition to Dramicanin, Nikolas Raivio also collected a double-double for Jaszberenyi, scoring 16 points and grabbing a game-high 13 boards in a losing effort.
Fortress Jaszberenyi Player Rastko Dramicanin
"We came here to do our best, and we did. We practiced defence - the big guys especially practiced the "4" and "5" positions, but after a 12 hour trip, and with a five-hour time difference it was hard to play. Nevertheless, we did our best and I think we can be satisfied. We had problems at the free-throw line - we didn't score. The next game we will play at home against Tofas and it will be also hard to win."
Fortress Jaszberenyi Head Coach Sandor Foldi
"Congratulations on your win. Thanks to the fans for their support. We played against a very good team, and we wish them good luck. We had a chance to win this game, but we lost. No need to be disappointed, because we did what we can. This is sport, and we will try to beat everybody - it doesn't matter if we get to the Second Round, we hope to win. We are a young team, and we have only been playing in the Hungarian first league for three years. We live in a small city - only three thousand people live there, and our city lives for basketball."
URAL Ekaterinburg Head Coach Oleg Okulov
"The most important positive side is that we didn't give up after several difficult moments. The opponent made us make mistakes, and we missed many easy shots. We calmed down too early, and our rivals punished us. But we managed to fill the gap. In the end fortune was on the Hungarian team's side, because we missed two free-throws and gave them chance. We must be thankful to our fans for support."
URAL Ekaterinburg guard Anton Glazunov
"We knew the game would be hard. Thanks to our players for their struggle till the end, and thanks to the fans for their passionate support, when the shouting tribunes prevented the opponent's player [Nikolas Raivio] from hitting his free-throw."