KK Zagreb edged Gran Canaria 71-69 in the first leg of the Eurocup Qualifying Round on Wednesday in Croatia.
KK Zagreb were powered to the win by Mario Kasun's game-high 17 points and 6 rebounds. Luka Zoric scored 16 points and pulled in 12 rebounds, while Gregory Renfroe added 11 points.
Gran Canaria got 13 points and 7 rebounds from Charles Wallace. James Carroll tallied 11 points and Sitapha Savane added 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Gran Canaria enjoyed a 20-18 lead on a jumper by James Moran at the end of the first quarter.
The visitors used a 13-0 run to grab a 37-26 lead late in the second quarter, and Javier Beiran made a three-pointer to give Gran Canaria a 40-29 lead at the end of the half.
Zagreb ran off a 7-0 run to knot the score at 49-49 with just seconds left in the third period.
Gran Canaria opened a five point lead at (59-54) early in the fourth, but Zagreb outscored the visitors over the final stretch to claim the win.
The second and deciding game will be played in Spain on October 6.
PEDRO MARTÍNEZ, Gran Canaria head coach
It was a tight game, we opened it well and in the first half we had an advantage but in the second half Zagreb played much more aggressively. Later we could not find the solution for their zone and the result turned to ther advantage. With these 2 points of difference we can be satisfied.
JAYCEE CARROLL, Gran Canaria player
We lost a lot of energy in the first half to achieve the good result, so in the second half our game was much weaker so the result turned to Zagreb. Our concentration dropped in the third quarter and Zagreb recognized it, played hard in defense and controlled the result. At the end we managed to escape worse defeat and we are very optimistic about the game next week.
DENIS BAJRAMOVIĆ, KK Zagreb head coach
We knew Gran Canaria is an excellent team and that we have a lot of work if we wanted to achieve a good result. Before the game I said I would be satisfied with any kind of winning result. After all I can only confirm that. I am sorry we have missed the chance to win with greater difference but we have had a chance to know Gran Canaria better . We shall use this week to prepare for the second game in Spain.
KRUNOSLAV SIMON, KK Zagreb player
The way we played in ther first half didn't give me much thought in the locker room than hoping not to fall apart completely and lose with a lot of difference. Fortunately, in the second half we started playing much better, achieved returning to the game and even had a chance to win with a reasonable result. The game could have ended with 10 point difference for both teams, so the 2 points for us must be satisfying for both of our teams.