|Ivan Ivanovic ended with 16 points and nine boards for Gaz Metan Medias|
Gaz Metan Medias got off the mark in EuroChallenge Group I with a thrilling 84-82 victory over Joensuun Kataja.
A battle between two teams considered to be overachieving after coming through the qualifying round went right to the wire as a fine fightback from Kataja fell agonisingly short.
An outstanding first quarter had the hosts leading 23-10 on Kyle Shiloh's lay-up with two minutes to go and their lead ballooned to 31-16 on a three-pointer from Slobodan Dundjerski early in the second period.
His lay-up then made it 36-19 but Kataja had no plans to just fade away and an 8-2 run made it 37-27 on Daniel Coleman's dunk.
They trailed 45-33 at the break but made a more concerted comeback effort in the third period, with back-to-back three-pointers from Coleman and Antti Kanervo part of an 8-0 run that made it 49-43.
They drew level with another Kanervo three to make it 59-59 with 58 seconds left in the period, setting up a nervy finish.
Medias kept their noses in front through the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter, but their lead was never more than four points.
Petri Virtanen's three for Kataja tied it at 76-76 with 2:07 to go, but Medias responded with Dundjerski hitting two free throws before Zoran Krstanovic made a jump-shot after a pair of misses from Coleman at the other end.
Kataja coach Jukka Toijala called timeout and got the response he wanted. Jermaine Flowers hit a pair of free throws before Kanervo's three-pointer gave them an 81-80 edge.
A turnover from Ivan Lilov gave them the chance to extend, but Kanervo only split his free throws before Shiloh snatched the lead back with a three nine ticks from time.
Flowers' turnover put Medias back in control and although Lilov only split his late free throws, time ran out on Kataja.
Lilov led Medias with 19 points while Shiloh had 17 and Ivan Ivanovic 16. Krstanovic added 12 and Dundjerski 10.
Kanervo poured in 25 points for Kataja with Coleman just behind on 23 and Flowers adding 16.