|David Holston and the Artland Dragons got away with a close win against Pau Orthez|
Artland Dragons sealed a first-place finish in EuroChallenge Group H with a 76-75 victory at Pau Lacq Orthez on Tuesday.
The German club seemed to be coasting to a comfortable win when the French club, which went into the game after winning for the first time in the competition last week, scored 11 unanswered points to set up a thrilling finish.
Allan Ray capped the run with a three-point play to knot the contest at 75-75 in the last minute.
Artland's veteran center Florian Hartenstein drew a foul at the other end by Chinemelu Elonu and made only the second of two free-throws to put the Dragons back in front, 76-75.
Pau called a timeout but to no avail.
Marko Maravic and Teddy Gipson missed potential game-winning three-pointers before the end.
The French outfit ended up missing their last six shots from long range.
Brandon Thomas led the winners with 19 points as they improved to 5-1.
Guard David Holston weighed in with 17 points.
Ray led Orthez with 21 points but he turned the ball over five times.
Artland guard David Holston:
"We played a serious game tonight especially in defense with concentration. We did the necesary to get the win and to keep working with confidence for the future".
Artland head coach Stefan Koch:
"The game was special tonight since both teams played for nothing. For us it was a good oportunity to share minutes and to involve all the players. The victory is a good bonus which permits us to finish the first round with great confidence."
Pau Lacq Orthez player Junior Elonu:
"This game with no direct effect on the competition is a good preparation for Nancy. We had to react after the big disapointment of the last French game. We must work hard until saturday because it will be a tough game."
Pau Lacq Orthez head coach Laurent Vila:
"Even if the result was not important tonight, my players had a good reaction fighting hard in defense and looking for good options offensively. We have to improve our intensity on defense over 40 minutes and we must go to the offensive rebounds with the spirit of a winner. The team did not give up tonight, this is positive for the future."