Ural Great and its 7,500 faithful fans in Perm, Russia have gotten the team's Group D campaign back on track with a dominating 109-79 win Thursday over visiting Oostende of Belgium. Behind 35 points and 18 rebounds by forward Ruslan Avleev, Ural registered its highest point total and widest margin of victory of the season. With this victory, Ural broke a two-game road losing streak to raise its record to 6-3 and put the pressure on three other teams it was tied with for second place. Ural scored more points than it has all season, and indeed broke the 90-point barrier for the first time since opening day. The win also kept intact is the Russian champs' perfect home record this season in Euroleague play. Oostende, after winning its first game the previous week, falls to 1-7 in the standings.
Ural's victory featured a most remarkable occurence: all of Ural's points at halftime and all but two of 76 through three quarters came from from four players, only one of whom can be called a guard, and then only loosely. Besides Avleev's 35-point explosion, more than half of those by halftime, center Mikhail Mikhailov, back in action after a brief injury, added 23 points, Valeri Daineko 20, Anthony Bowie 20 and Vassili Karasev 12, all of his in the final quarter. Karasev had already did his job with 9 assists, but guards had to show up in the scoring column after all.
Until then, only Bowie, who swings between the big guard and small forward positions, was taking away any of the point-scoring from Ural's frontline. But it abundantly clear early in this game that those big men were bent on putting a stop to the two-game losing streak. Led by Avleev, Ural outrebounded Oostende by double, 42-21, with 16 of its total coming on the offensive end. Avleev took half his total on the offensive end, 9 overall, and his four dunks were the result of several of those. His 10-for-11 free throw shooting came off several others. oostende didn't shoot inside or outside the arc any worse than Ural, but the visitors only got the foulline to make 9 of 13 free throws as compared to 23 of 31 for the home team. Ural set the pace with a 26-15 first quarter, added a point to that lead by halftime and then put the game away with a 27-14 third quarter. Oostende's resistance featured 19 points from Ralph Biggs, 16 by Christophe Beghin, 15 by last weelk's Euroleague MVP, Andrius Giedraitis, and 13 by Virginijus Praskevicius.
Wednesday, December 19, 2001