|Anton Saks led Norrköping Dolphins with 18 points, making sure they stayed within the magical 11-points margin in the loss|
The Norrkoping Dolphins suffered a narrow 84-80 loss to Tampereen Pyrinto but snatched a Last 16 berth in the EuroChallenge regardless in a tense finish to Group C action.
With BK Ventspils crushing the Sodertajle Kings 90-56, three teams finished with 2-3 records behind all-conquering Ventspils, and it was the Dolphins who stole second place.
With the Kings' defeat leaving the door open, Tampereen needed victory by 11 points to take second themselves and a strong second quarter saw them threatening to pull it off.
They set the tone by scoring the first eight points to take the lead and they finished the period on a 9-0 run to go 47-37 up on a three-pointer from Antero Lehto.
But the urgency of the situation was not lost on the Dolphins, who emerged from the locker room much improved, and back-to-back three-pointers from Oladapo Ayuba and Keith Gabriel cut the gap to one before Anton Saks gave them a 50-49 edge with a jump-shot.
The teams traded baskets and the lead the rest of the way until Tampereen began to edge clear late in the fourth quarter.
Four straight free throws from Kenneth Lowe were followed by a Lamonte Ulmer lay-up as they ended 77-70 in front with 3:08 to go, and it was Lowe again at the charity stripe as they went 83-76 up with 64 seconds left, enough to get them home.
Lowe led Tampereen with 18 points while Lehto had 17, Reginald Bratton 15 and Ulmer 12.
Saks led the Dolphins with 18 points while Ayuba had 15, Mikael Lindqvist 11 and Martin Ringstrom 10.