Aris earned a 78-74 win on Lukoil Academic's home court in the first leg of the Eurocup Qualifying Round in Bulgaria on Wednesday.
The visitors were led by a huge performance from Anthony Tucker. The small forward had a game-high in points (26) and rebounds (13).
Dejan Borovnjak seconded Tucker with 15 points and 10 boards of his own.
Brandon Bowman scored 18 points for Lukoil in the loss.
Lukoil jumped out to a 10-0 start, fueled by five early points from Bowman, and some tough defense that held Aris scoreless for the first five minutes.
Aris then turned to Tucker, who notched seven points to power his team back to within 19-12 heading into the second period.
Kaspars Kambala scored inside to put Lukoil up 28-18 mid-way through the second, and Tencho Banev made a lay-up to extend the lead to 37-25.
But Aris responded with an 8-0 run over the remaining 2:23 to end the half down four (37-33).
The third quarter was tightly contested with neither team able to open a gap. Tucker hit a three-pointer to pull Aris to within 59-57 heading into the game's final stanza.
Aris moved ahead 73-71 at the 6:20 mark with a layup from Christos Tapoutos and will now try to defend its small margin of victory in Greece on October 6 in the return leg.
Jovica Arsic - Lukoil Academic Head Coach
"We started the game well, especially in defense and this is why we had the lead. We were able to keep the lead of about 10 points for a while but then we started turning the ball over in offence and that's what actually didn't help us win the game. None of the newly recruited players disappointed me. Aris have a good team, and Heath and Kambala just joined the team and they haven't completely adapted to the team. We're leaving for Tessaloniki with the single goal to a 5 points win."
Sharon Drucker - Aris B.S.A. Head Coach
"For me the outcome of the series has not been decided at all. 4 points lead is nothing in such games, because there is a second game. Lukoil is really a good team with good players and it is obvious that they have invested a lot in the summer. I cannot say that I am really satisfied with our game. It was not an easy game but we do not feel like we have already qualified yet."