Thanks to a great finish, Ural Great Perm of Russia beat Adecco Asvel Basket 73-75 in Group D on Thursday to retain a piece of first place. Nikola Vujcic's 23 points for the home team could not offset fully a good inside performance for Perm's centers. Ruslan Avleev was active from the start and finished with a team-high 19 points, while center Mikhail Mikhailov put up 13. Ural is now rolling along at 4-1, tied at the top of Group D with AEK Athens and Partizan ICN Belgrade. Asvel has fallen to 2-3.
With a good outside-inside game, Avel controlled a defensive first part of the first quarter to lead 6-4 after 4 minutes. Then, at last, the game became more open and attractive as Perm's Valeri Daineko answered to a very active Nikola Radulovic, who had scored 7 points in 6 minutes, to give CSKA an 11-12 lead. Playing more physical and trying to run on fastbreaks, the Russian club took a five-point advantage, 11-16, on a power dunk by Ruslan Avleev. Another Radulovic basket allowed ASVEL to cut the Perm lead to three, 14-17, at the end of 10 minutes.
Coming off the bench for the second quarter, Asvel's Nikola Vujcic changed the complexion of the game. He scored 6 consecutive points and forced 2 turnovers of Perm inside players to put Asvel ahead again, 20-17. Scoreless during four minutes, Sergei Belov's team reacted with Avleev (8 points in the quarter) and Vassili Karasev. But Vujcic, once again, and Kyle Hill, who would score 8 points in the quarter, including a three-pointer on the break, maintained an Asvel's lead at 27-22 after 16 minutes. Then two players off the bench, Alexander Bashminov and Anthony Bowie, showed that running game is a main asset of Perm as they led a 0-7 run to a 27-29 lead for the visitors. The quarter ended with a crazy shoot-out contest, with 2 three-pointers by Avleev giving a slim advantage to Perm at halftime (34-37).
The third quarter was a mano-a-mano struggle from the start. And in this kind of defensive, physical type of game, the Russian team with Mikhail Mikhailov (eight points in the quarter) and Ruslan Avleev, was able to impose its inside force and strength for a 43-46 lead halfway through. One again, Vujcic (ten points in the quarter) took over and pushed his team to a 50-46 lead just two minutes later. Vassili Karassev provided some outside threat to his team with seven points in the quarter, but the last word was for Nikola Vujcic, whose final basket made it 57-55.
Sitting on the bench since the first quarter with an injured nose, Perm's Sergei Panov re-entered the game and gave this team the lead, 57-59, at the beginning of the last quarter. Then, after two minutes of bloopers on both sides, Asvel Vujcic gave Asvel a five-point lead with 2 minutes left, 71-66. A definitive gap? No. Panov scored four points in 10 seconds: a six-meter shot and a steal leading to a dunk to cut the deficit to one, 71-70, with a minute to go. Sy lost another ball and Karassev gave the lead back to the Russians, 71-72, with fifty seconds to run. Bowie even gave Perm a three-point lead with 24 seconds left. In the climax, Hill missed a three and ASVEL fouled Avleev, who missed both free throws. Vujcic hit two foul shots (73-74) with nine seconds to go. Bowie then missed a free-throw and Nikola Vujcic had a chance to win the game beyond the arc at the buzzer. No good. Ural Great Perm won.
Thursday, November 8, 2001