Ural Great of Perm strolled into the Top 16 on Thursday with a huge road win against big odds when it downed Real Madrid 88-95 in Group F. Panagiotis Liadelis, just a few weeks in a Ural uniform, exploded for 30 points to lead the Russian champs. He and Ruslan Avleev, who finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds, proved unstoppable for the Madrid defense. As such, Ural starts 1-0 and even with Kinder Bologna in the group, while Madrid is 0-1 with Efes PIlsen. Mikhail Mikhailov added 11 for the winners. For the losers, Sasha Djordjevic hit 15 points, Zan Tabak contributed 13 and Iker Iturbe and Alberto Herreros hit 11 each.
The aggressive Russian backcourt turned the tables early, as Anthony Bowie ran the the visitors by Madrid's early 4-0 lead to catch up on layin by Mikhail Mikhailov at 8-7. From that moment, Ural took control of the game and their speed took them from 10-7 down to 10-18 ahead after an 0-11 run which was only broken up by Alberto Angulo. The Russians never got off the lead from that point and the quarter ended with Ural in possession of a commanding, double-digit lead of 16-26.
Ruslan Avleev showed the way to the rim to his teammates in the second quarter, splitting the astonished Madrid defense. No substitutions by the hosts seemed to change the trend. The Russian champs were not going to squander their solid lead, not even after Madrid woke up the crowd at Raimundo Saporta arenaby pullng within 28-33. The guests rapidly pulled away again to 31-41, with Avleev proving the biggest menace for Real Madrid and Bowie playing his veteran's role of seeing what was needed at any given moment. Rewarding the trust of his teammates, Avleev would end the first half with 19 points and Ural had established its base for victory with a 40-45 edge going to the locker room.
In the second half, Avleev was still the main offensive reference point for the guests, and when he hit the 20-point mark, he had only missed one free throw and a couple of shots from the field. If that wasn't enough, Panagiotis Liadelis decided to follow in the steps of his teammate, with whom he formed a lethal twosome after the break. The clock was the enemy now for Madrid, who was playing desperately but was still trailing by double digits, 56-62, in minute 28. Madrid's problem was not the offense, but a defense that could not deter the Russians in the paint from getting second chances on the offensive glass.
Madrid's push had to come, and it did early in the fourth quarter with a 12-4 run that pushed the home team into the lead for the first time in awhile, at 68-66. That seemed to indicate a change of momentum, but Liadelis, who would end up making 13 of 13 free throws total, now hurt Madrid both from the foulline and from deep, with a three-pointer. When Vassili Karasev followed with a basket, Madrid's comeback seemed a distant memory, vanished in just a few plays into a 72-80 Ural lead. Alberto Herreros tried to keep his team in the game, but the powerful rebounding on the offensive end by Ural was too much for Madrid, as reflected in the 88-95 final score.
Thursday, February 28, 2002
Jorge Muñoa, Madrid