|Sharaud Curry was unstoppable, finishing the game with a season-high 38 points |
Team TEHO Sport Kotka used a stunning fourth quarter rally and a brilliant night from Sharaud Curry to snatch a EuroChallenge Last 16 place away from Okapi Aalstar by the narrowest of margins.
Kotka knew they needed to win by at least three points in order to advance at the expense of their hosts and that is exactly what they did after a 20-6 fourth-quarter run powered them to an improbable 90-87 victory.
They had powered their way into a 90-84 lead when Ryan McDade split a pair of free throws but after Thomas Dreesen hit back with a three-pointer their work was not done until Arne Steinbach came up empty with a three-point attempt four ticks from time.
Curry finished the night with 38 points after shooting 13-of-18 (72.2%) from the field, including five-of-nine (55.6%) from three-point range.
Okapi, knowing any kind of victory would see them through, led for almost all of the game but it was never comfortable, their biggest lead a 78-70 advantage at the start of the fourth quarter.
But Kotka soon set about demolishing it as they scored eight unanswered, tying it with back-to-back three-pointers from Curry and Ryan Ayers.
When Ayers hit another three 2:02 from time they led 83-80 and Curry's jumper made it 87-82 with 59 seconds left.
Butler cut the gap but Curry and McDade padded it from the line to ensure the game was tantalisingly out of reach for Okapi come the dramatic few seconds.
Chris Owens had 14 points for Kotka and Ayers added 11.
Da'Sean Butler led Okapi with 18 points while Lee Cummard added 15, and Dreesen and Naim El Khounchar had 12 apiece.