Czech Republic used a big fourth quarter to pull away for an important 73-65 road victory over Belarus in the opening game of their EuroBasket qualifying campaign.
The teams began the fourth quarter level at 53-53 and it was all tied up again when Aliaksandr Kudrautsau hit a three-pointer to make it 60-60 with 7:12 to go.
But the Czechs then went on a 9-2 run, to lead 69-62 on Petr Benda's three-point play with 78 seconds left.
Pavel Ulyanko split a pair of free throws for Belarus and they cut further into the lead after David Jelinek's turnover helped get Siarhei Charykau to the line with 61 seconds left, his free throws making it 69-65.
But the Czechs then took valuable time off the clock before Tomas Satoransky nailed a three-pointer, and after Charykau missed a three for Belarus, Lubos Barton split a pair of free throws to edge the Czechs clear.
The Czechs had led 39-28 before half-time, but Belarus used a 9-0 run midway through the third quarter to storm back and take a narrow lead, 44-43 on Ulyanko's free-throw, setting up the close finish.
Jelinek scored 16 to lead the Czechs while Benda had 13 and Jiri Welsch and Satoransky contributed 12 apiece.
Kudrautsau led Belarus with 16 points while Artsiom Parakhouski added 14.