Slask Wroclaw's unheralded Robert Skibniewski made a pair of three-pointers near the end of the game to lift the hosts team to an 83-72 triumph over Lokomotiv Rostov in EuroCup Group K on Tuesday evening.
Lokomotiv, one of the pleasant surprises in the competition who came into this game on the back off their EuroCup win over BC Zadar, were as cold as the freezing Polish air when they stepped to the free throw line where they made five of 16 (31.2%).
That performance at the line had just as much to do with their defeat as Skibniewski's shooting did.
The game was in the balance until the final stages.
|Kevin Fletcher led Slask Wroclaw with 19 points|
With the game knotted at 68-68 and only two minutes and 43 seconds remaining, Skibniewski struck to put the hosts in front.
Lokomotiv's sensational Panamanian center Jaime Lloreda replied with a jump shot to trim the deficit to just one, but Skibniewski hit from behind the arc again for a 74-70 advantage with 1:47 to play.
The Polish outfit would lead the rest of the way.
Lokomotiv called a timeout to discuss their strategy and when play resumed, the Russian team put the ball into the hands of their talisman for the game, Alexander Miloserdov.
But the 1.93m guard was off target from long range, and Dante Swanson went to the other end and buried a jumper for a 76-70 lead with 1:07 to play.
Evgeny Voronov was the next to miss for Lokomotiv and Slask, with the visitors forced to foul to stop the clock, made the most of their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Skibniewski finished with 14 points, but Slask were led by Kevin Fletcher who scored 19 and also yanked down seven rebounds.
Miloserdov had a team-high 19 points in defeat, while Lloreda finished with 17 points and 10 boards.
Slask almost took charge off the game in the first quarter, when Skibniewski's first three-pointer sparked a 9-2 run which put them if front at 19-10, but Lokomotiv battled back and eventually claimed a 36-35 lead with a little more than three minutes remaining in the first half on a Voronov jumper.
From that point of the game up to the last three minutes, neither side was able to impose its game on the other and it wasn't until Skibniewski made those crucial three-pointers that Slask took a grip on the game.
When the EuroCup resumes on January 10, Slask will take on BC Zadar while Dexia Mons-Hainaut, who thrashed Slask in the first week of Round II action, will take on Lokomotiv.