|Joakim Kjellbom pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds as Armia opened their season with a home win over Göttingen|
Armia launched their EuroChallenge campaign with an 82-76 win in Group B over German strugglers BG Göttingen on Tuesday in Tbilisi.
Sundiata Gaines enjoyed a terrific debut in the competition by pouring in a game-high 24 points.
The 25-year-old guard hit five of the team's eight shots from long range.
Armia dominated on the boards, pulling down 51 rebounds to just 30 for the Violets.
Will Thomas played all 40 minutes and had 13 rebounds to go with his 18 points, and Joakim Kjellbom had a game-high 15 boards along with nine points.
Jeremy Richardson also had 17 points and finished a rebound shy of a double-double.
Göttingen, the winners of the competition in 2010, are back in the EuroChallenge after spending last season in the Eurocup.
They have fallen in five of their first six games in the BEKO BBL but Stefan Mienack's men played their hearts out and nearly sprung an upset.
Trailing by 10 points in the fourth quarter, the Violets three times closed the gap to four, including when Louis Dale made it 75-71 with 1:53 to go after sinking a pair of free-throws.
Richardson then missed from behind the arc for Armia and Brazilian center Roberto Mafra rebounded for the visitors.
But Mafra's pass was intercepted by Richardson and shortly after, Gaines buried his last three-pointer of the game.
Paris Horne's three-ball with 17 seconds to go reduced the deficit to 80-76, forcing Armia to burn a timeout.
When play resumed, Göttingen's Dale fouled Richardson and the 27-year-old made both free-throws to ice the victory.
Göttingen were led by Horne's 22 points.
It has been a very painful period for Göttingen after a recent tragedy that has affected everyone at the club.
Just over a week ago, point guard Marco Grimaldi's girlfriend and sister were killed in a car crash after the team's game at LTi Giessen 46ers. Kyle Bailey's girlfriend was in the car as well but survived the accident.
Grimaldi and Bailey did not play at the weekend and also did not travel for the game against Armia.
BC Armia Head Coach Kote Tughushi:
"The game was very intense, as expected. We had a very strong opponent team, the German Göttingen. Many said that the team was not in good shape and did not have good results in the German league, but the level of the European field is quite different and they were very motivated today and it was not a surprise for us. I can't say that we showed our best play today. We had many mistakes but we'll do our best to improve all this for the next games."
Göttingen Head Coach Stefan Mienack:
"I think Armia have a very good team and great shooters. They made some tough shots, especially Gaines and Richardson. They rebound better than us and that's made a difference in the game. We tried to play for every point. It was a great match and great atmosphere. I think right now nobody knows who will be the winner in the group. It is just the first round, after the first round you can see which team might be up in the group."
BC Armia player Sundiata Gaines:
"I think today was a good game. Other games will be harder. The opponents played a good game. This is our first game and first real test. We played against a good, tough team and this is very good learning experience for us. I think we have great chances, we have a good team. We will work hard and we'll get better and better."
Göttingen player Paris Horne:
"I think it was a great game. We wanted to win the game but our hosts were better in rebounds and it was crucial for the final result."