Latvia international Armands Skele scored 10 of his game-high 25 points late in the game to help Barons hold off a determined KK Zagreb in their EuroCup Quarter-Final series opener in Riga.
Barons prevailed 67-58 and will now attempt to finish of Zeljko Pavlicevic's team in Croatia next week.
The result means that two Baltic teams are just a victory away from the Final Four after Tartu Rock beat
|Demetrius Alexander had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Barons LMT.|
Barons fans will be breathing a sigh of relief because their team trailed 33-25 late in the first half.
The Latvian team closed the gap to 33-29 by half-time and when Demetrius Alexander made a pair of free throws midway through the third quarter to give them a 40-39 lead, he also put them in front for good.
Barons couldn't pull away at first, though, with a three-ball by Zagreb's Petar Babic cutting their lead to 47-46 with 2:04 remaining in the third quarter.
Michal Hlebowicki drilled a three-pointer, and Skele dunked to give Barons a 52-46 advantage at the end of the third quarter, and Barons held on over the final 10 minutes to take the upper hand in the series.
Barons out-rebounded Zagreb 41-31, and they also did a lot of damage at the free throw line, making 17 of 20 (85%) on the night.
Jakov Vladovic had 13 points in defeat to lead Zagreb.
Zeljko Pavlicevic, KK Zagreb head coach
"This series is still not lost - it is only zero to one. I think we played very well in the first half, but I did not like some episodes in the second half. During the second game we will do the best to be able to be in Riga for the third game."
Karlis Muiznieks, Barons LMT head coach
"The prognosis that the Zagreb team is strong was verified today. At the beginning of the game we were too worried and due to it we were not able to show our game in an appropriate way. Thanks to the good game in defense and out fighting spirit our team broke the game open. On the second half we managed to get enough and in the last minutes there was no intrigue."