Okapi Aalstar enjoyed a perfect start to the EuroChallenge Last 16 with a 98-86 Group J triumph over Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Christopher Copeland exploded for 27 points and led the Okapi defense with three steals.
The Belgian club played one of its finest games of the season at the right time.
They led 49-31 late in the first half and while Bonn fought back and reduced the arrears to 59-54 with 3:18 to play in the third quarter on a Chris Ensminger jump shot, Okapi kept their noses in front.
A Nate Fox lay-up pushed the home side's advantage back to 68-57 late in the frame.
Bonn closed the gap to 86-80 on a pair of free-throws by Talor Battle with 2:18 to go in the contest, but Justin Holiday answered with two of his own for the hosts and they held on for a comfortable win.
Ensminger finished with 22 points and eight rebounds for Bonn.
Jared Jordan had 15 points but just four assists for Bonn.
Okapi Aalstar coach Brad Dean:
""It was a high level game. Most of the time we had the lead but we couldn't stay consistent throughout the game. In the third quarter we had some trouble to find our rythm but Kruger made an important three-pointer at 59-54. I'm happy with this victory because we have three away games in a row now."
Okapi Aalstar player Chris Copeland:
"With six players in double figures I think we had a good team performance. We moved the ball well and did a good job on defence. That was the key of the game. It always feels good if the team can defend homecourt advantage."
Telekom Baskets coach Michael Koch:
"Aalstar was the better team and they deserved to win. My team wasn't able to stay focused for more than 6 minutes. We came back in the game at 59-54 but we hadn't the momentum to walk over Aalstar. When the opponent scores nearly 100 ponts [that means] you didn't play well in Europe".
Telekom Baskets player Anthony Gaffney:
"Okapi started the game with more concentration than we did. After the break we fought our way back into the game but we lacked the consistency to persevere. Okapi also had a stronger will to win."