BC Khimki held off a furious fourth quarter comeback from Ironi Iscar Nahariya to enter Round II of the EuroCup on a high while knocking out the Israeli team in the process.
The 90-86 Group D victory also puts CEZ Nymburk into the next phase, no matter what happens in their game against Basket Swans Gmunden as the Czechs won both of their contests against Nahariya.
Khimki got a balanced scoring attack, led by their two South American stars Ruben Wolkowisky and Oscar Torres.
|Ruben Wolkowisky led Khimki with 18 points and 12 boards|
Nahariya lost despite the magnificent contributions off Barak Peleg who had a game-high 24 points, and Avi Soucar (23).
Khimki were playing at home and their fans must have thought the victory was in the bag when a Wolkowisky basket gave their side a 46-26 lead in the final minute of the first half.
Even though the visitors chipped away in the third quarter, all appeared okay for the hosts again after Wokowisky dunked for a 64-48 advantage with 1:09 to play in the third quarter.
Though Nahariya battled, Khimki always seemed to have answer. After the Israelis cut the deficit to nine, Torres made a pair of free throws for an 83-72 lead with a little more than four minutes to go in the game.
In a flash, it seemed, the Israeli team was right back in it.
Soucar made a lay-up, and Amit Ben David and Peleg buried back-to-back three-pointers.
Otis Hill split a two attempts from the charity stripe, and then Ben David made a lay-up. The 11-0 spurt had tied the game at 83-83 with 1:53 to play.
Khimki's Melvin Booker missed a three-pointer, and Nahariya rebounded, giving themselves a chance to take the lead but Peleg missed a shot from behind the arc at the other end.
The next sequence did serious damange to Nahariya's hopes.
Hill fouled Boris Gorenc who made the first free throw but missed the second. Torres, however, went up and scored on the offensive rebound and put-back for an 86-83 lead.
Gianmarco Pozzecco, who had 10 points, made a lay-up for a five-point lead and though Soucar sank a three-pointer with 17 seconds left, Nahariya had to foul and Pozzecco killed the game off at the free throw line.
Peleg missed a three-pointer with five seconds to go.
Nahariya's players, having given everything in an amazing comeback, left the court defeated.
Khimki hurt themselves with 17 turnovers in the game, with Gorenc and Pozzecco each losing possession four times. By contrast, the visitors had just eight turnovers.
The Russians had a big advantage at the free throw line, where they made 22 of 27. The Israelis were a mere two of three at the line for the game.