Pinar Karsiyaka's Izmir home was a very difficult place for visitors last season in the EuroChallenge but Le Mans thrived in the Turkish setting on Tuesday night.
The hero of Gottingen's EuroChallenge title-winning success two years ago, Taylor Rochestie, erupted for 17 points, Marcellus Sommerville scored 16 and Joao Batista contributed 14 as Le Mans won the first leg of the Eurocup Qualifying Round tie, 80-73.
Karsiyaka fell behind 26-16 at the end of the first quarter but seemed to recover from that poor start.
After trailing 43-34 at half-time, the home side turned on the style and outscored the visitors 27-12 in the third quarter.
Much of the damage they inflicted on the French came in transition, with Karsiyaka scoring 22 fast-break points to just seven for Le Mans.
The visitors, who had fallen behind by six late in the third quarter, returned to their first-quarter form at just the right time.
They went on a 14-0 run to take a 69-61 advantage with 6:20 remaining.
With Karsiyaka's three-point shooting woes hurting them in the last quarter - they missed their last seven attempts - Le Mans went on to claim a seven-point triumph.
Karsiyaka finished just two of 16 from long range while Le Mans were seven of 18.
Rochestie hit three of his seven shots from behind the arc.
The second leg will be staged next week in France.
Le Mans Head Coach JD Jackson:
"Except for the third quarter, my team had a good game. Even making a lot of mistakes in the third quarter, we are happy to win. But for the next game we will be more carefull, and we won't think about the seven-point difference."
Pınar Karşıyaka Head Coach Coach Hakan Demir:
"At the game we played, we were fine but especially in the 3rd quarter with a perfect game we lead. When you look at the percentages, which 2 for 16 at three points and missing 12 free throws, it is hard to win any game. We found certain positions that we wanted, but with the low percentages we were not able to win. However seven points difference is not so big in basketball, if we can play with better percentages, I believe we can qualify. We will play till the end to win. In a good game, Pınar Karşıyaka maybe lost but was not beaten."
Pınar Karşıyaka player Birkan Batuk:
"We tried to play hard, but we could not reflect the game we want on the court, except in the third quarter. I hope we can be more carefull and with better percentages, able to qualify to the Eurocup."