|Gregory Jenkins contributed 22 points and 9 rebounds in Lisboa e Benfica's win over Lugano|
Lisboa e Benfica held on to beat Lugano Basket and recover from a heavy opening defeat to Lukoil Academic in EuroChallenge Group C.
Lisboa went down 92-71 last time out and were in major need of a win.
They got it, but only just as they came from behind in the fourth quarter and then had to hang on in the tense final stages.
Lugano, who opened the group by beating Tartu, led 74-68 with six and a half minutes to go.
But Lisboa reeled off five points, closing to 74-73 on Cordell Henry's jump-shot.
The teams traded baskets, but Henry's three-pointer put Lisboa in front, 78-76, with 3:52 to go.
A put-back from Gregory Jenkins and then a dunk from Heshimu Evans made it 82-76 as Benfica looked like cruising to victory.
But Lugano were not done yet, and Sean Finn dunked and then added a lay-up to close the gap back to two.
Henry's three gave Benfica breathing space before Mohamed Abukar sank two free throws for the visitors.
Ben Reed's lay-up gave the Portuguese a five-point cushion with 20 seconds to go, and although Finn dunked again for Lugano, Reed iced the game from the free-throw line.
Reed and Jenkins finished with 22 points each for Benfica, while Sergio Ramos added 17 and Henry had 10.
Lugano wasted 28 points and 10 rebounds from Abukar, while Finn and Michael Efevberha each finished with 16 points.
Benfica Head Coach Henrique Viera:
"We are proud for what we did. There are no special receipts to win games, we worked very hard. It's not just tactic but essentially physical and mental, it's a totally different game from the games we play in domestic league. We started the second half knowing that we had to defend better to win the game, we pushed up our agressivity in defense and we did stop them. Our players did a great effort in order to win the game. I want to praise all for this win. The support we had from this amazing crowd was one of the keys of this win. I hope we can count with them next Tuesday for another European Game."
Lugano Basket Head Coach Joe Whelton:
"We want to proceed to the next phase of this competition, and because of it, this game was very important for us. We started very well, like we did last week against Tartu Rock, having in mind that we should win all home games and one game away in order to qualify. We were almost there, because we were wining the most part of the game, but in the third quarter we did too many mistakes. We prepared this game very carefully, I was not surprised by Benfica. We knew that we would face a very good and experienced team."