VILNIUS, Lithuania – Lietuvos Rytas have drawn first blood against Ventspils with Renaldas Seibutis scoring 19 points in his team's 99-79 win.
After a tight opening quarter last year's bronze medallists put the game beyond doubt in the second frame as they went on a 12-2 run into the half to give them an unassailable 13-point lead.
Going eight-for-11 from the field, Seibutis was the main destroyer for Lietuvos Rytas whilst Jonas Valanciunas chipped in with a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double.
When Todd Abernethy sunk a three-pointer with less than four minutes gone, Ventspils had their hosts on the ropes with an early five-point buffer before another three, this time to Jahmar Young, extended the lead out to six points with just over three to play in the opening frame.
But with Mindaugas Katelynas adding a pair of jump shots in the last minute, it was Lietuvos Rytas leading by two when opening quarter came to a close.
For Ventspils Abernethy ended with 13 points whilst Young picked up 10. Katelynas chipped in with 16 off the bench for the hosts.
Ventspils continued to keep the game close through the opening stages of the second frame but with just over two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the half, Lietuvos Rytas cut loose as Edwards Roberts began and ended a 12-2 run with lay-ups, opening up what had been a close game.
With three three-pointers in the third quarter, Seibutis then put the game beyond doubt before Tyrese Rice added another three-pointer a second out from the buzzer to take the lead past 20 points.
Rice finished with 13 points on three-for-five shooting off the bench.
Ventspils enjoyed some better luck on offense in the final quarter but the damage had already been inflicted as the deficit could only be cut by a solitary point.
Game 2 is set to take place in Ventspils on April 2.