|44. Henry Domercant (Spartak) Henry Domercant was on fire for Spartak, scoring 21 points and dishing out 5 assists|
Spartak St Petersburg punched their ticket to the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge on Tuesday by beating BCM Gravelines Dunkerque for the second time this season.
Unlike the first meeting on November 23 when the Russian team travelled to France and destroyed Christian Monschau's side by 40 points, the rematch was close with Spartak claiming an 85-77 victory.
Zvi Sherf's team improved to 4-1 in Group A and Gravelines fell to 2-3.
Fortunately for the French outfit, BC NN made good on their pledge by giving their fans a first taste of victory in the EuroChallenge with a 76-62 triumph over second-place Szolnoki Olaj in the other Group A clash.
Gravelines will therefore battle it out at home with Hungarians Szolnoki for the second qualifying spot from the pool for the next phase of the competition.
Spartak trailed Gravelines 33-30 late in the first half but Henry Domercant was fouled while attempting a shot from long range and made all three free-throws to tie the contest.
Slovenia international Miha Zupan then caught fire for Spartak, scoring nine points over the last 2:36 of the second quarter as the hosts took a 42-36 lead to the changing rooms.
Gravelines kept the pressure on after the restart and Yannick Bokolo's three-point play cut the Spartak lead to 46-45.
The Russians answered with an 8-0 run that put them on top for good.
Domercant first drilled a three-ball to take his tally to 18 points and then center Peter Popovic followed with a bucket.
Domercant struck again from long range and the score was 54-45.
Gravelines fell behind by 13 points in the fourth quarter but continued to fight and closed to within 82-76 with 1:03 to go on two free-throws by Jeffrey Greer.
FYR of Macedonia international Pero Antic nailed a three-pointer for Spartak to take the lead back to nine and the home side held on over the last 48 seconds for victory.
Domercant's 21 points and five assists were crucial, as were the 15 points and eight rebounds that Zupan finished with.
Antic also ended up with 12 points and nine boards for Spartak.
Greer led five Gravelines players in double figures scoring with 16 points.
Spartak Guard Anton Ponkrashov:
"We forgot the game which we had in Gravelines. We knew that our rivals came here and tried to play better. We understood that the game would be difficult. The game in France was one of our best games in the season. Gravelines prepared for this team, they learned us, they knew us."
Gravelines Head Coach Cristian Monschau:
"It was an interesting game. Spartak played well and they deserved to win. They had to make a lot of big shoots but we missed open shoots. And the diffrence is only 8 points.
Now we'll have a decisive game with Szolnok Olaj next week."
Spartak head Coach Zvi Sherf:
"I am happy that we won. This result and also the result in the match NIzhny Novgorod - Szolnok Olai permit us to be the first in our group. We had some good minutes and some bad minutes in the game. We made too many turnovers. And I can't understand some of them. But I am happy that we qualified for the next round. Now we'll prepare for a very ! important game with Lokomotiv in PBL."