Cibona is the team from who you can expect unexpected things. And a team who can show two different faces in the same game, starting with an unstoppable game to turn into a mediocre team which could be beat by almost anybody. And this game was no exception as on Wednesday night, the team of Zagreb beat Ural Great of Perm 102-97 in a Group D massive game, which raises Cibona's record to 4-7 and drops Ural's to 6-5. The winners were led by the 27 points of Nikola Prkacin, who was helped by Matej Mamic with 20 points. Barisa Krasic contributed 10 points. For the losers, Sergei Panov posted 24, Vassili Karassev added 21, and four more players scored 10 or more points: Ruslan Avleev (14), Mikhail Mikhailov (13), Valeri Daineko (12) and Anthony Bowie (10).
Cibona started strong, and it seemed it was playing against itself for Ural simply didn't exist on court. The hosts pulled for an early 9-3 lead, and hit a double-digit lead with 16-5, which was maintained for some more minutes, in which the crowd went nuts watching Sesar end a perfect alley oop. From here, Ural seemed to react and got back into the game, for a tied score at 24. The first quarter ended 29-24 after a three on the buzzer by Matej Mamic.
The second quarter turned out to be quite similar to the first, even though Cibona never ceded the lead to the Russians, and pulled away early again for another 11-point lead, 41-30. A three-point play by Sergei Panov put Ural back on track and the guests cut the deficit down to 6, 43-37, but once again, from there, Cibona got temporarily safe again at an 11-point distance, 48-37, which was to be the lead at half time, 58-47, after Niksa Prkacin being the main offensive resource for the hosts in the last minutes of the period. On the second half, Cibona showed its other face once again, wasting its lead little by little but without any stop. Ural Great was led by Karassev and Panov all the way, and with 5 minutes to go, the Russians got in the lead with a two by Mikhailov, 87-88. That seemed to trigger Cibona's ambitions to show a winner character again, and thanks to a three-pointer by Matej Mamic for 93-90, got into the definitive lead, even though Karassev for 93-92 and Mikhailov for 95-94 and 97-96, held hope for the guests until the very last moments of the game. The decisive play arrived with 28 seconds to go, when Boris Dzidic hit his second three, the 11th of Cibona of 25 attempts (44%) and put the 102-97 on the scoreboard.
Wednesday, January 16, 2002