Latvian side Barons LMT got their EuroCup Qualifying round Group D campaign off to a flying start after a late surge gave them a 73-69 win at Lokomotiv Rostov.
Having been down 67-65 going into the final minute, Barons rallied and three-pointers from Marcal Hlebowicki and Demetrius Darnell Alexander gave them the advantage and two successful free throws from Armands Skele on the buzzer sealed the win.
Alexander had been instrumental in the elimination round win over Iscar Nahariya and the American power forward produced another fine performance, top-scoring with 23 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
The game began tightly, but Barons went on an eight-point run which culminated in three Alexander free throws to take control at 22-12 and they maintained that 10-point gap to end the quarter 24-14 in front.
Lokomotiv produced a spirited fightback in the second quarter and Artem Kuzyakin netted five points as the Russians went on a fine 11-point run to tie at 33-33 with two minutes of the quarter left.
The game then moved to 35-35, but Nestoras Kommatos tucked away three free throws to complete Lokomotiv's fine comeback and put them 38-35 in front at half-time.
In the third quarter, neither side were able to build a substantial lead, but Barons once again took the initiative, inspired by Alexander who contributed, two of their seven-point run to go 55-48 ahead.
The quarter ended with Barons leading by just three points at 58-55 but Lokomotiv eventually took advantage in the final quarter only for Barons to sneak it at the end.
Rostov head coach Oleg Meleschenko:
"First of all I want to thank our fans who supported us very strongly in this game. We always play for them. I think my team played well. Surely we made some mistakes but now I don’t want to speak about them. BC Barons showed good and interesting basketball. This game was very important for us as it is the first in the Qualifying Round. It’s a well known proverb; well begun is half done.
Valentin Kubrakov Rostov captain:
"The game was really very difficult. The first half of the game ended with the score 38-35, but the first period we really lost. It was the main mistake of our team."