KK Zagreb needed overtime and a stunning double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds by Krunoslav Simon to claim a thrilling and nail-biting 72-70 win at Artland Dragons in Group J.
|Krunoslav Simon had a stellar performance with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists in the narrow triumph|
The Croatian club made an early run to move 9-4 ahead but it was the Dragons that edged the first quarter 13-11 with both defences on top.
The pace then changed as the respective offences finally picked up in the second quarter but the outside games of each team remained pretty much stone cold.
A 7-0 burst midway through the period by Zagreb looked promising but Artland Dragons managed to get their noses in front once again at 30-29 led by Darren Fenn who claimed 15 first half points in fifteen minutes.
Artland surged ahead 46-40 and it looked like the resistance of the visitors could break but they posted seven unanswered points and heading into the last ten minutes of action, the game was finely poised at 49-49.
Simon drilled a big three for Zagreb to hand them the lead at the start of the fourth bit with five minutes to go, the pendulum had swung back to the hosts who moved 59-58 ahead.
In a nail-biting finale it looked like Zagreb might edge it until with 13 seconds remaining, Folarin Campbell tied the game up at 66-66 from the line. Simon had the last shot in regulation for Zagreb but couldn't make the three-pointer.
Both teams felt the tension of the extra period but it was Zagreb that prevailed as they held their breath as Toby Bailey missed a triple for Artland with 8 seconds left.
Fittingly it was Simon, who also recorded 5 assists, who grabbed the all important rebound to resign the home team to defeat.