Spartak Saint-Petersburg took a big step towards a place in EuroChallenge Quarter-Finals on Tuesday night by winning 71-63 at Lukoil Academic.
Henry Domercant, the PBL's Player of the Week after scoring 35 points in Spartak's overtime defeat at Lokomotiv Kuban, continued to provide offense.
He had 10 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-ball that snapped a 57-57 tie with 4:49 to go.
After his lay-up gave the visitors a 64-59 lead, Brandon Heath tried to rescue Lukoil, a club that had suffered just one defeat in the EuroChallenge this season before Tuesday's clash.
The 1.93m guard scored on consecutive drives to cut the gap to just one point.
Recent signing Patrick Beverley made a pair of free-throws for Spartak to stretch the lead back to three, though, and following Travis Peterson's missed jumper, Domercant added a basket.
Miha Zupan and Anton Ponkrashov shortly after drove the final nails in the Lukoil coffin.
Heath drove into the lane and tried to make a lay-up but Slovenia international Zupan swatted the shot.
Ponkrashov connected from behind the arc for the eight-point Spartak lead.
That three accounted for the last points of the contest.
Russia international Ponkrashov finished with 21 points and Zupan had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Spartak's Pero Antic scored just one point after missing all seven of his shots from the floor but did corral 10 rebounds.
Lukoil didn't have Dominic James. The point guard has averaged 14.8 points and 5.3 assists per game for the Bulgarian team in the EuroChallenge but missed the contest with an injury.
Zvi Sherf, head coach Spartak St. Petersburg:
"It was a good game and I would like to congratulate my players. In any case this is a very important win. We had some worries that our loss against the team of Lokomotiv Kuban, as well as the tragedy at the Domodedovo airport in Moscow at which we were just the previous day, could have a negative influence over the players. We played a weak second quarter but we came back strong in the second half and eventually won. I'm sure that LUKOIL will come in St. Peterburg looking for a win."
Pero Antic, Spartak St. Petersburg player:
"It was a very difficult game. We won because we were able to play significantly better in the second half on both sides. LUKOIL is a very serious team and I'm positive that they are our main competitors for the first position in the group. This is why I cannot really say if we will end up winning this group I."
Jovica Arsic, head coach LUKOIL Academic:
"We had some significant problems organizing our offensive game tonight although we played well in defense. We were able to keep the score tied because of the great shooting of Stojanovski. However we had trouble on the point guard position. Perhaps there were some mistakes made by the referees of the game tonight but it wasn't something that really influenced the outcome of the game."
Travis Peterson, LUKOIL Academic player:
"Spartak are a very good team. We had a great start tonight entering the game but unfortunately we were able to play well enough only until the end of the second quarter. We didn't play that well in the second half, we were unable to execute and score in offense and Spartak played aggressive defense. We should pick up our defense in order to improve our game."