Barons LMT took a solid step in moving to the Qualifying Round of the EuroCup, collecting an 81-77 victory at home over Iscar Nahariya in the first leg of the second elimination round.
The Latvians probably would have liked a stronger result but will have to make due before
|Demetrius Alexander had 18 points and 15 boards in the win.|
Demetrius Darnell Alexander led Barons with 18 points and 15 rebounds while Armands Skele added 14 points, six rebounds and four assists for the winners.
Otis Hill also had an excellent performance for Ariel Halahmi's Israelis with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Adrian Pledger chipped in 16 points.
Barons grabbed the early lead at home 8-4 only to see Nahariya power forward Ido Kozikaro score six points in a 12-2 run for a 16-10 advantage.
Michal Hlebowicki and Dainius Adomaitis knocked down three-balls to close within two points, but the Israelis' lead was 20-16 after one period.
Karlis Muiznieks's team used the three-point option to pull ahead as Martins Kravcenko hit three foul shots and Kaspars Berzins converted a three-point play before both players knocked down three-balls to complete a 12-2 run for a 35-27 lead.
Skele's long-ball pushed the cushion to 42-34 and the Latvians went into the break ahead 46-39.
Hill's lay-up trimmed the margin to 50-45 but Hlebowicki answered with a three-pointer and the lead bulged to 11 points at 60-49.
Barak Peleg and Matan Naor both hit three-balls and Sasa Ocokoljic's lay-up cut the deficit to 66-61 going into the fourth.
Peleg evened the game with a jumper for 66-66, but Arturs Brunins' three-pointer completed a 9-3 spurt to allow the Latvians to push ahead 81-73 with 1:30 to play.
With the return in mind, Nahariya were able to close the gap to four points on a tap-in by Uri Kokia and two foul shots by Peleg.