|Kyle Landry made some clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the final result|
Triumph Lyubertsy blew a 15-point half-time lead before coming through at the finish to edge out BK Ventspils 71-66 in Group K of the EuroChallenge.
The visitors had led 39-24 late in the second quarter but allowed Ventspils to come storming back in the second half, with the hosts taking a narrow lead during the frantic final minutes.
But Triumph recovered their poise when they needed it as free throws from Kyle Landry and Courdon Higgins got them over the line.
There had seemed little question as to which way this battle of teams with 1-1 records was going during the first half as Triumph got off to a hot start and just kept rolling.
Higgins' lay-up made it 27-15 early in the second quarter, and it was that man again who stretched it to a 15-point advantage 1:44 before the break.
After Artjoms Butjankovs nailed a three-pointer the deficit was back to 10 at half-time but Triumph still appeared to be in complete control.
Ventspils had other ideas and scored the first five points of the third quarter to put the pressure on.
It took until the start of the fourth quarter for them to get back on level terms, but they did more than that with eight straight points that made it 57-55 on Sandis Valters' three-pointer.
That set up a fight to the finish but after Davis Lejasmeiers' three gave Ventspils a 64-62 lead, Triumph responded with a three-point play from Landry and two free throws from Higgins to make it 69-64 with 24 seconds left.
Lorenzo Williams hit a lay-up for Ventspils but with time running out, Landry iced it from the line.
Landry and Higgins finished with 18 each, Landry adding nine rebounds, while Jeremy Chappell scored 10.
Maris Gulbis led Ventspils with 15 points while Janis Timma had 11.
Ventspils Head Coach Roberts Stelmahers
"We believed that we can win, but somehow in the beginning of the game we did not succeed as we would have liked to. We came out confident and got back the points that we lost in the first half. At the end there is always luck and this time it was not on our side. If we had scored the crucial shots, then the result could have been different. Painful loss."
Ventspils Player Maris Gulbis
"We started very sleepy and I do not know why, because we were prepared for the game. I think the fact that we had a bad performance in the beginning was the crucial factor in today' s loss, because we spent all our energy on reducing the difference, so there was not enough energy to get to a win."
Triumph Head Coach Vasiliy Karasev
"We started the game very well - we had good defence, cooperation between players and the first two quarters were very successful for us. We have a young team, so we relaxed thinking that the game is ours and that we already have the victory against Ventspils. We lost focus and became more relaxed. Ventspils took advantage of it and caused us problems at the end."
Triumph Player Evgeny Valiev
"This was an important game for us, after losing against Turkish club [Royal Hali Gaziantep]. We prepared well for this game against Ventspils. The first quarter was very successful for us, but in the second quarter Ventspils became more aggressive and we stopped; therefore the ending of the game was very nervous for us."