DTL EKA AEL Lemesos sprung the first major upset of this season's EuroCup by holding off Italian league leaders Virtus Europonteggi Bologna 88-83 in Cyprus.
Virtus have endured an injury crisis in recent weeks but still managed to win their first two games in Europe while at the same time maintain a share of first place with Montepaschi Siena in Lega A.
They ran into a determined Cypriot team on Tuesday.
Zare Markovski's Virtus battled back from a 30-17 deficit three minutes into the second quarter to trail 37-34 late in the first half.
|Jeron Roberts had 23 points for Lemesos|
Ntousan Tsalikis-Vouktsevits started that spurt with a three-ball, and Brazilian international Guilherme Giovannoni capped it with a pair of free throws.
Lemesos reclaimed the lead, only for Christian Drejer to hit a jumper and a three-pointer to put the Italians back in front at 58-54 with 2:28 remaining in the third quarter.
The home side showed great resolve.
A Travis Best basket, followed by a Brett Blizzard shot from the arc put Virtus into a 65-60 lead, only for Roye Zeev Berkowitz's three-pointer, and two free throws apiece from Zydrunas Urbonas and Michael King to bring Lemesos right back into a 67-65 advantage with seven minutes remaining.
When Best buried a three with 2:54 remaining, that marked the last tie of the game.
Two free throws from Jeron Roberts and a basket from King took the lead to four, and though Blizzard trimmed the advantage to 79-78 with a three-pointer just 1:06 from the end, Virtus would have to play from behind the rest of the way.
Two vital misses sealed their fate.
After Milutin Aleksic sank two free throws to stretch the lead to 81-78, Giovannoni missed with a shot from the arc.
|Lemesos' Milutin Aleksic|
Forced to foul to stop the clock, Virtus watched as Lemesos made seven of eight attempts from the line in the final 35 seconds.
Roberts, who finished 11 of 14 at the free throw line, led the home team's scoring parade with 23 points.
The stripe is where Lemesos spent much of their night, taking 47 shots overall as a team and making 32 while Virtus were seven of nine.
King had 15 points, Aleksic 12 and both Urbonas and Remon van de Hare chipped in with 10.
Virtus, without Italian internationals Andrea Michelori and Fabio di Bella due to injuries, got 24 points from Travis Best.
With Adecco ASVEL Lyon defeating Amsterdam Astronauts, Virtus, Lemesos and ASVEL all have 2-1 records in Group H.
Amsterdam are pulling up the rear with three defeats in as many games.