KK Zagreb have found the going tough in the Adriatic League but they may have just sparked their season into life with an important EuroChallenge Qualifying Round 1 first-leg triumph at BK Prostejov.
Zagreb, who advanced to the last season's EuroCup quarter-finals before losing in a thrilling three-game series to eventual champions Barons Riga, prevailed 69-61 on Tuesday in the Czech Republic.
The teams will meet again next week back in Croatia.
Off to a 0-3 start in the Adriatic League, Zeljko Pavlicevic's team found their stride against the Czech opposition with two of last season's heroes, Ante Tomic and Krunoslav Simon, leading the way.
Tomic, selected 44th overall in this summer's draft by the Utah Jazz, had 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for the visitors while Simon scored 11 and pulled down nine boards.
The home side trailed Zagreb for most of the contest but stayed within striking distance.
When Hurl Beechum buried back-to-back three-pointers early in the fourth quarter, he put the hosts on top at 54-53 early.
Tomic replied, making one of two at the line and then drilling a jump shot to make it 56-54 in favour of Zagreb with 7:22 remaining.
Pavlicevic's team then outscored Prostejov 9-1 for a 65-55 advantage with 2:54 to go.
Zagreb ended up winning by eight, giving them a very important lead heading into next week's second leg.
The Croatian outfit dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Czech team 43-28. What prevented them from having a more decisive win were turnovers. They committed 23 to just 12 for Prostejov.
Beechum had 14 points and eight rebounds for Prostejov, who made only nine of 15 at the free throw line.