Greg Brunner top-scored for Reggio Emilia with 22 points, adding nine rebounds
Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia returned to European competitions after a decade-long absence with a comfortable 80-63 win over Okapi Aalstar at home on Tuesday, in the opening encounter of EuroChallenge Group E.
Reggio Emilia were playing without their star Italian guard Andrea Cinciarini but still forced their Belgian guests to 15 turnovers and stole 11 balls on the night.
They led by a slim margin for most of the first half, until a Derek Raivio tip-in 1:03 from the end of the first half put Okapi in front for the last time in the game, 39-37.
Matteo Frassineti though hit a triple to send the hosts to the locker rooms with a 40-39 lead, and once the Italian side started pulling away decisively in the third quarter, Okapi had no answers.
Greg Brunner hit a triple on the fast break and then converted an and-one play on the next possession to cap off an 18-4 Reggio Emilia burst at the start of the third quarter, which enabled the hosts to jump to a 58-43 lead and take a firm grip in proceedings once and for all.
Troy Bell finished at the rim to give Reggio Emilia their biggest lead in the game, 69-51, with 7:38 remaining to the final buzzer and Okapi never really mounted a come-back attempt until the end.
Brunner paved the way for the winners with 22 points on 10-for-13 from the floor and nine rebounds, Bell finished with 13 points and James White chipped in with 10 points.
For Okapi, Ioana Tofi had 16 points and eight rebounds and Raivio added 14 points in losing efforts.