Andrey Trushkin scored 22 points and Marque Perry 18 as CSK-VVS Samara defeated previously unbeaten Tartu University Rock 77-65 to clinch a place in the EuroCup Quarter-Final Round.
Both Tartu and Samara are 4-1, but the former still lead Group A by virtue of a superior goal differential in their head-to-head meetings.
Estonians Tartu had been cutting down the opposition in the EuroCup like a buzz saw, winning both legs of
|Sergey Demeshkin had nine points for Samara in the win.|
But Valeriy Tikhonenko's team played extremely well in their next two EuroCup contests and they showed great form again on Tuesday, with Perry sealing the win in the last quarter when he scored 12 of his points.
Samara went on a 12-2 run over the final 4:29 of the first quarter to open up a 25-18 advantage.
The hosts then led by as many as 10 points in the second quarter before going to half-time ahead at 51-43.
Trushkin was simply phenomenal in the second quarter, when he scored 14 of his 18 first-half points.
Brian Cusworth and Estonia national team guard Tanel Tein had 10 and eight, respectively, for the visitors.
After the teams added 10 points apiece to their scores in the third quarter, Perry took over for Samara.
When Tartu closed the gap to 61-55 at the start of the fourth period, Perry replied with a three-ball for a lead of nine.
Tartu answered with a three to cut the deficit to six again, but Perry connected with another shot from behind the arc for a 67-58 lead with 6:47 to go.
When Cusworth turned the ball over on Tartu Rock's next possession, Perry went to the other end and scored yet again, this time inside the three-point arc for a 69-58 lead.
Brilliant Tartu remained focused and Marek Doronin nailed a three to make it an eight-point game again.
Perry, who had scored all of his team's points in the quarter, had the perfect riposte, drilling a mid-range jumper with 3:15 to go for a 71-61 lead.
His two late free throws allowed the Samara club to go in front by 14 - their biggest lead of the contest - before Tikhonenko's men settled for a 12-point victory.
If Tartu Rock win their remaining Group A fixture next week against Lappeenranta of Finland, they will be assured of first place but an upset defeat would allow Samara to leapfrog them into first place if the Russian team were to prevail in their encounter against PAOK BC.
Ullar Kerde, Head Coach of Tartu Rock:
"In the first half the Samara team had unbelievable percentage - 80% approximately, which doesn't happen often in basketball!!!"
"I had to explain to my boys during the break that in such a game it is necessary to defend much better and to be more active. If during the first half the opponent had 51 point than in the second half only 26. Only successful actions after the half time helped us to handle the Samara team."
"Frankly speaking, we didn't have it as the aim or mission to get to the play-off, but since we have succeeded we will fight till the end and try to go as far as possible."
Valery Tikhonenk, Head Coach of CSK VVS-Samara:
"It's a Strange feeling actually. On the one hand it is pleasant that we won, on the other - the difference in 21 point hasn't been reached. I think that the amoint of travel in the last weeks to Europe and back to Asia has tired us out. Anyway, life goes on, and we go forward. Our main aim is succeeded: the ticket to the FIBA EuroCup Play-off is ours. But we will try to go further."