Cyprus giants Proteas EKA AEL claimed a 100-93 triumph at Banvit on Tuesday night in the first leg of the EuroChallenge Qualifying Round 2 tie.
Ronell Taylor erupted for 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out seven assists in a virtuoso display for Proteas, the team that hosted last year's EuroCup Final Four.
Proteas went in front by as many as nine in the second quarter but only led 44-43 at half-time after the home side finished the frame on an 8-0 run.
A Kerim Yenice three-ball put the hosts into a 59-57 advantage with 5:22 remaining in the third quarter but Proteas held their nerve.
A Taylor three-pointer late in the period capped a 7-0 surge that gave them a 77-68 lead and they stayed in front the rest of the way.
Banvit did keep the pressure on, though, and closed the gap to 94-91 with 1:33 remaining in the game.
The Cypriot club scored six consecutive points, four by Milan Dozet, to go back in front by nine before Yunus Cankaya made two late free throws for Banvit that could prove vital in the return leg.
Lance Williams had 18 points and six boards in defeat for Banvit while Cankaya chipped in 16.