KK Zagreb defeated Roanne Basket 94-87 on Tuesday night and reached the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge.
Needing to win their game and hope that Keravnos would do them a favor by beating BC Kyiv, everything went according to plan for the Croatian club.
KK Zagreb improved to 3-3 in Group H while Kyiv, who held a potential tie-breaker advantage against Zagreb if they finished with identical records, crashed to a heavy defeat at Keravnos and ended up 2-4.
Luka Zoric poured in 24 points for Zagreb, who trailed 44-37 at half-time but turned on the style after the intermission and outscored Roanne 31-19 to lead 68-63 heading into the last frame.
Roanne stayed within striking distance and closed the gap to 91-87 with 13 seconds to play on a three-pointer by David Noel but got no closer.
Zagreb got a free-throw by Damir Mulaomerovic and a jumper from Krunoslav Simon to finish off the team from France.
Ante Tomic finished with 22 points and eight rebounds for the winners, who made 32 of 43 shots inside the arc but sank just four of 14 from long range.
Roanne, who had already sealed first place in Group H with wins in their first five games, were 21 of 39 from two-point range and eight of 32 from three-point land.
Etienne Brower, Roanne Basket player:
It was a tough game for us , we had a lot of bad luck recently. I think Zagreb has a good team, with good match players, and especially on the posts making good chances. We did a good job in the first five games and we have already turned to the next round.
Ante Tomić, KK Zagreb player:
This game is important for Zagreb to enter the top 16 if Keravnos wins. We knew that Roanne is a good team , they defeated us in France with 29 points difference and we could not allow ourselves to lose at home. In the first half we had a lot of problems with their offensive rebounds but we put it under control in the second half which opened us the way to win.
Jean Denys Choulet, Roanne Basket head coach:
It was not very easy for us to play here, we didn't play well in the last twenty minutes. We did not react because we knew we were in the top 16 and we were already first which was good for Zagreb and it was not good for the rest of the teams.
Denis Bajramović, KK Zagreb head coach:
We did not worry too much about the Cyprus result. Before the game, I told my players not to play in our oponents' rhythm and we had to play five to five. In the first 17 minutes of the game we did it but at the end of the first half Roanne was dominant in offensive rebound and won that part of the game. We decided to do our best before the start of the second half and I am very happy we have made it. We deserved this victory and we are in the next round.