|Young Russia international Dmitry Kulagin had 20 points in Triumph's agonising victory|
Triumph Lyubertsy saw their 19-point lead over Okapi Aalstar cut to just one in the fourth quarter but held on for victory on the opening day of the EuroChallenge Regular Season.
The Russian outfit, which had to go through the Qualifying Round to reach the competition, won the Group F game 83-78.
Veteran shooting guard/small forward Artem Kuzyakin led Triumph with 24 points and seven rebounds.
Dmitry Kulagin, one of the bronze-medal winning players for Russia at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Latvia, also had 20 points.
Triumph appeared to be on their way to a blowout of Okapi when Tywain McKee nailed his only three-ball of the game for a 55-36 advantage early in the third quarter.
Bradley Dean's team outscored the hosts 23-10 over the last 7:43 of the frame, though, to trail 65-59.
Christopher Copeland, who was crucial in the comeback for Okapi, then scored twice at the beginning of the fourth quarter to cut the Triumph lead to 65-63.
A three-pointer by Nate Fox of Aalstar left his team down 69-68 with 7:28 to go.
Kulagin, who was voted to the all-tournament team at the U19 World Championship, answered with a three-ball of his own and Daniil Solovev sank two free-throws to stretch the lead back to six.
The Russian team kept their noses in front the rest of the way.
Justin Holiday and Stefan Jackson each had 12 points and eight rebounds for Okapi, with the former also claiming four of his team's 16 steals.
BC Triumph Head Coach Valdemaras Chomicius:
"Today we won and it's very important for us. Okapi is an experienced team with many good snipers, and today we were successful to stand their rush, to play hard and we won. I want to thank my team for the victory and the fans for their support."
BC Triumph captain Artem Kuzyakin:
"I'm glad we won the game. I became the top-scorer of the game, but it doesn't matter. The most important thing is that I played useful for my team, and every my point helped the team. Regarding the opponent we expected the desire of our guests, they fought untill the end and I ‘m sure that our fans liked the game a lot.
Okapi Aalstar Head Coach Brad Dean:
"Congratulations to Triumph. They played well, especially at the 2nd half. We were close to the victory, but we spent so much energy to tie from -20 to -2, so Triumph was more successful at the end. Also we prepared to play against DJ Jefferson, but today he didn't play, I don't know why. And I want to mention the game of Kulagin, he made his shots in the key moments, when his team needed to make the run."
Okapi Aalstar player Stefan Jackson:
"It was a good tough game, we wanted to win, but when we had the chances in the last quarter we lacked the energy, though we had a great desire to win the game tonight. I was very glad to see Tywain Mc Kee, to play against him, he's a good friend of mine and we grew up together. It was very pleasant and interesting to play with him on one court."