A late surge by KK Zagreb proved decisive as they slayed the Artland Dragons to secure their Quarter-Final berth after coming back from an 8 point deficit with less than four minutes to play to claim a nail-biting 69-67 victory.
The result in Croatia was to leave Artland Dragons heartbroken as the German club crashed out of the competition after being edged out by their hosts and FMP romping to a big win over Belgacom Liege to secure the all important second spot.
For KK Zagreb it was party time as they made it through as group winners thanks mainly to a great double-double by Luka Zoric who pulled down 10 boards to add to his game-high 18 points.
The Dragons will be dismayed at losing this one having produced a really big shooting performance from the perimeter bagging 13 of 26 triples.
However when it mattered they dried up big-time and Folarin Campbell couldn't convert his fifth triple during the dying seconds from downtown to take a dramatic win and add to his 16 point haul.
It was a controlled performance by the home side who didn't panic and kept their nerve as their patient approach finally paid dividends. Some great defence kept their opponents to just two points inside the last three minutes.
Krunoslav Simon had another typical all-action game to finish with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists while for Artland, Darren Fenn had 15 points and 8 rebounds.
DENIS BAJRAMOVIĆ, KK Zagreb Coach:
"I would like to congratulate my players , those who have played tonight as well as those who were not able to help us due to injuries and illnesses . Nevertheless, they were here cheering for us. This was a difficult and dramatic game with a lot on stake for us and for the guests as well. Eventually we had more luck, we managed to save the game and win."
TONI PROSTRAN, KK Zagreb Player:
"I am very glad that my opening game in front of Zagreb fans was a victory and that we managed to enter the Quarter-Finals. I haven't played such an important game for a long time and I hope I've met my coach's expectations and I am glad I have helped my team to get out of a very difficult situation."
TOBY BAILEY, Artland Dragons Player:
"It was a tough game and they had a lot of big shots at the end of the game. We have lost a game in which we were six points ahead three minutes till the end. Zagreb managed to stop us and we're sorry we have missed a big chance for the next round."
THORSTEN LEIBENATH, Artland Dragons Coach:
"Congratulations to Zagreb who played a very good game. We were competitors till the very end. It was a big fight till the very end when in the last quarter three three-pointers by Barać and Simon have brought the victory for Zagreb. I am very proud of my team and the way they played and I wish a lot of success to Zagreb."