|Dejan Borovnjak collected 17 points and 12 rebounds for Gaziantep|
Royal Hali Gaziantep led from post to wire as they proved too strong for BK Ventspils, winning their Group K opener 72-61 in the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge.
Although Ventspils rallied to get themselves in touching distance early in the second half, they could never get on level terms and the hosts simply pulled clear once more.
Dejan Borovnjak led the way with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Domen Lorbek added 12, with latest addition Baris Ermis collecting eight points and 10 assists.
Royal Hali moved into an 11-2 lead on Lorbek's lay-up early in the game, and although Ventspils replied with seven in a row to prevent it getting out of hand immediately, the hosts were still looking strong.
Back-to-back dunks from Sertac Sanli made it 23-13 early in the second period, and they went in leading 32-23 at the break.
Ventspils started the second half playing their best basketball, and a 9-1 run closed the gap to one point on Artjoms Butjankov's jump-shot.
Royal Hali got the message, and reeled off eight straight to lead 41-32 on Oliver Stevic's jump-shot.
Ventspils never got close again, with the lead growing to as much as 61-45 on a Lorbek jump-shot midway through the final stanza.
Sandis Valters led Ventspils with 15 points while Ronalds Zakis and Davis Lejasmeiers had 10 apiece.
Ventspils Head Coach Roberts Stelmahers
"We have a short rotation. We played against a pretty strong team with a good rotation. We committed easy turnovers and Royal Hali punished us. Generally we played well. We have a young roster and we fought back. Congratulations to Royal Hali Gaziantep on the victory."
Ventspils Player Davis Lejasmeiers
"We fell behind early in the first quarter and that caused us problems. We fought back but our shooting percentage wasn't good."
Gaziantep Head Coach Jurij Zdovc
"Congratulations to my players on the victory. It wasn‘t an easy game. We have the better team but Ventspils is playing with discipline. We didn‘t find our rhythm. In the last 15 minutes we put in our energy and we kept the point difference."
Gaziantep Player Domen Lorbek
"It was an important game for us. It wasn't an easy game. It is a good beginning for us and I hope we continue like that."