Lisboa e Benfica needed overtime but finally beat Lukoil Academic 86-79 in the EuroChallenge on Wednesday night to hand the Bulgarian outfit its first loss of the season.
In the Group C game, Ben Reed had a chance to win it at the death for the home side but was off target with a shot and another five minutes was needed.
With the contest knotted at 74-74 in the extra period, Lisboa e Benfica's Antonio Tavares scored to put the Portuguese side in front to stay.
Heshimu Evans followed with two free-throws before Tavares sank another jumper.
Gregory Jenkins finished the 8-0 run when he soared into the lane and caught an alley-oop pass from Evans and scored for an 82-74 lead.
The Portuguese club held on to move level on points with Lukoil Academic at 3-1.
Evans finished with 20 points and both Tavares and Jenkins contributed 18.
Jenkins led the team in rebounds with 12. Dominic James poured in a game-high 25 points in defeat.
Sérgio Ramos, Benfica player:
"It was a very important victory. We knew that Lugano have lost in Estonia and if we won today we could get a very important advantage over the other teams [in the group]. We didn't have the offensive quality we wanted but it was defending that won the game for us today. It was our best defensive performance this season. We have now won all home games and we took an important step to qualify for the next stage. In European games the home factor is very important and we've done our job greatly. The crowd helped us a lot."
Henrique Vieira, Benfica's coach:
"We are improving after each game in this group and we want to finish it as one of the best teams. Lukoil is the strongest team in our group and we won the game because of the way we defended today. António Tavares was very important in the offensive chapter but he also was important in defense. We're proud of what we did and we can win another game and get through to the next stage."
Veselin Veselinov, Lukoil player:
"Benfica have a great team, they played very well today, with good shooting percentages. Benfica are in a very good position to go through to the next phase. We've two very important games to go and we must win them in order to qualify from the first spot."
Jovica Arsic, Lukoil coach:
"Benfica deserved this victory and they also deserve to qualify to the next stage of this competition. Our main problem was in defence, but also our transitions defence-attack didn't run as usual. [I think] Lukoil and Benfica are the teams that will go through to the next phase of Eurochallenge."