|Nathan Peavy and the Artland Dragons are looking at a five-point deficit before travelling to Gran Canaria next week|
Gran Canaria edged closer to a return to the Eurocup with a victory at Artland Dragons in the first leg of their Qualifying Round tie.
Georgia international Marquez Haynes had 14 points to lead the Canary Islanders to a 61-56 triumph in Quakenbrück, Germany.
The Spanish side appeared to be headed for a more decisive victory after taking a 12-point lead with 4:37 to play following a lay-up by Haynes on a fast break.
Artland responded with a 6-0 run, though, sparked by Anthony King's dunk and capped by Bryan Bailey's lay-up.
A David Holston three-pointer with 15 seconds to go pulled Dragons even closer at 59-56 and Pedro Martinez, the Gran Canaria coach, decided to call a time-out.
It paid dividends because Gran Canaria center Xavier Rey ended up getting a slam dunk for the last points of the game.
The winners will know that Artland have every chance of hitting back from a five-point deficit when the second leg is played next week in Las Palmas.
Anthony Hilliard had 17 points to lead the German club while Spencer Nelson added 10 for the visitors.
Gran Canaria out-rebounded Artland 41-32.
Stefan Koch, head coach Artland Dragons
Gran Canaria deserved this win. Like Coach Martinez expects us to play better on Tueday I expect his team to play better as well. We didn't do a good job in rebouning, scoring and shooting. If this happens you have to invest other qualities and play smart. Our execution on offense was very bad and every time we thought the game would get closer we couldn't get the defensive rebound. Although Gran Canaria is a team with a great qualitiy I am disppointed. I expected both teams to score more points.
Anthony Hilliard, forward Artland Dragons
Gran Canaria really hurt us in rebounding and with the turnovers. Offenively we didn't find our rhythm, they played a really good defense. But we played one of our worst offensive games and only lost by five. So I think we have a chance to beat them at Gran Canaria.
Pedro Martinez, head coach Gran Canaria
I am happy. It is always difficult to play an important game like this at the beginning of the season, because usually the offense is not so consistent at the beginning of the season. We did a good job defensively and in rebounding. We knew the Artland Dragons are a very good team. The played in the championship semifinals last season. We won this game by five points, but we know it will be more difficult for us on Tuesday, because I expect the Dragons to play better than today. So we have to continue to respect them to win the second game.
Tomas Bellas, guard C.B. Gran Canaria
We knew this would be a very important game, because it is important to win the first game to go back home with an advantage. We started with a lot of intensity especially in rebounding. We took good care of their point guards because we knew the are important players. In the third quarter the Dragons scored more baskets and started to defending with a full court press defense. We had problems with that, so I am happy that we won. But have to continue to improve to win the game on Thursday.