|David Vojvoda and Szolnoki Olaj just fell short of a miracle comeback|
Tartu Rock held off a fourth-quarter rally from Szolnoki Olaj to win the first leg of their EuroChallenge quarter-final 87-83.
Szolnoki came from 17 points down to the cut the gap to just one with 16 seconds left but could not get over the hump as Tartu hung on for a crucial win.
Tanel Karbus led Tartu home with 19 points, while Valmo Kriisa and Augustas Peciukevicius scored 13 each.
Tartu took control late in the second quarter with a 16-4 run, going into the locker rooms leading 47-35 after Vincent Simpson sank a three-pointer.
Their lead fluctuated after the break but they appeared set to cruise home when Kriisa's three made it 72-55 with 8:59 to go.
But Justin Holiday replied with a four-point play, drawing a foul from Marek Doronin as he hit a three.
After David Vojvoda hit a pair of free throws, Holiday came up with another big play, blocking Joosep Toome's shot and then stripping Simpson of the ball. Strahinja Milosevic made it pay with two more free throws, and when he followed it up with a three-pointer, the score was 72-66, an 11-0 spurt.
Vilmantas Dilys padded Tartu's lead with a lay-up but still Szolnoki kept coming as Peter Lorant hit a three.
Pecikevicius made it 77-69 with 3:19 to go, but just as it seemed Tartu might be able to breathe easy, Szolnoki rattled off four quick points.
Lorant's jumper made it 78-75 with 40 seconds left as Szolnoki began to foul and, although Tartu were making their free throws, two three-pointers from Vojvoda helped Szolnoki make it 82-81 with 16 ticks left.
Lorant cancelled out Pecikevicius' free throws, and Szolnoki had their chance to tie it after Pecikevicius could only split a pair.
However, Vojvoda missed six seconds from time and Kriisa iced it from the line.
Lorant had 23 points and eight rebounds for Szolnoki, while Vojvoda scored 22 and Holiday 18.
Peter Lorant, Szolnoki Olaj:
"We let the other team score a lot in the second and third quarter. In the end we came back and it became a one shot game, but we missed it. We lost because we made more mistakes, but I´m sure that we will be back here for the third game as both teams are very close to each other."
Dragan Aleksic, Szolnoki Olaj head coach:
"Congratulations to Tartu, it was a very good game for them and especially in their very loud home court. I think that their fan support was one reason they played so good. We lost the game in the second quarter where we made a lot of mistakes. We had problems with the defensive rebounds. They were lucky in the end and I hope we will come here for the third game. We will try to recover and beat them in our home court and in front of our fans."
Valmo Kriisa, TÜ/Rock player:
"They played zone defence and we found the shooting spots and made them. Playing in front of such crowd is a really good feeling and all the players gave their best."
Gert Kullamäe, TÜ/Rock head coach:
"Our shots were statistically unbalanced and we shot a lot more three pointers, but if we score 87 points then we can´t complain. We have some things to think about for Thursday´s game, but all in all we played a good game. We played very good defence, but they still made their shots and this is basketball - good players make even the toughest shots and hats off to them for that. It was a typical play-off game where both teams gave their all and as we have homecourt advantage, the fans really helped us."