|Rashad Anderson had 14 points with 8 rebounds for BK Ventspils who improved to 2-2 in Group K|
BK Ventspils scraped a 74-71 win at Sport Lisboa e Benfica on Tuesday night in the EuroChallenge.
In stark contrast to the first Last 16 Group K game between the sides in Latvia last month, which Ventspils won 100-65, the second meeting was very close.
Benfica had a 56-55 lead with 1:50 to go in the third quarter but Oritseweyinmi Efejuku sank one of two free-throws to tie it.
Maris Gulbis then knocked down a three-pointer at the end of the frame for a 59-56 Ventspils lead.
They stayed in front the rest of the way, though it was close until the end.
Heshimu Evans was fouled with 30 seconds to play and had a chance to knot the game but made just one of two free-throws to leave Benfica trailing, 72-71.
Ventspils, after a timeout, ran the clock down to four seconds before Gulbis missed from long range and Benfica captain Sergio Ramos took the rebound.
However, his pass was intercepted by Janis Strelnieks and Efejuku made a lay-up before the final buzzer for the three-point win.
Efejuku finished with a game-high 27 points.
Ventspils are now alone in second place with a 2-2 record behind Gravelines (4-0).
Norrköping are, like Benfica, 1-3.
"We had no luck tonight. After analyzing this game, we noticed that we lost it in the final ball possession. We also lost it on the free throw line, we were under our capabilities tonight on free throws. We had many physical problems this season but the team had always given the correct answer to that, dedication and effort. We have a great team although we lost our last 4 games but we will get over it. We have played 4 games in the last 5 days. I'm proud of my players. We've two more games to play in Europe and we'll do our best. Now we will concentrate in our main goal this season. Winning the national league for the third time in a row."
António Tavares (Benfica player):
"This kind of games are decided by little details. We missed in the key moments of the game. We don't give away so many rebounds and turnovers like we did tonight. In these details Ventspils were better than us."
Guntis Endzels (Ventspils coach):
"Benfica is a very good team, one of the best in Portugal. We knew that this was a very hard game for us. At home they are very strong and very well prepared to play against the other team, like they were tonight. We didn't played so well as I wanted but the result was great."
Arturs Berzins (Ventspils player):
"Our will was the key of our victory. It was a very hard game against a very strong team with a lot of international experience. Most of them make part of Portugal team and they know very well how to play in order to win, but we battled a lot tonight and we deserved to go home with a win."