A team known for its strength at home, BK Ventpsils of Latvia, started the 2006-07 ULEB Cup the right way on the road Tuesday by downing host Besiktas JK Cola Turka 65-76 in Istanbul. Ventspils broke open a close game in the second quarter and never looked back while dominating in rebounds to win by double digits. Eddie Shannon led the winners with 17 points and 8 assists, while Dalron Johnson added 17 off the bench for the Latvian champs. Aigars Vitols added 14 himself in a reserve role, while Uvis Helmanis had 9 and 14 of the visitors' 44 rebounds. Aubrey Reese was the only consistent threat for Besiktas, which shot poorly from everywhere. He finished with 14 points to go with 8 rebounds. Baris Ozcan had 10 points off the bench for the hosts, while Cevher Ozer pulled 11 rebounds.
It was a head-to-head throughout the first quarter between the teams, who made it to the fifth minute tied 7-7 tie. That's when Besiktas went on a 6-0 run, mostly by the points of Reese, who lifted the hosts in front 13-7. Raimond Vaikulis and Johnson responded first for Ventspils and then Dusan Jelic's free throws helped the guests level the game just before the end of the first quarter, 13- 13. In the second, the visitors turned up the intensity and took control of the match with a zone defense that stopped Besiktas in its tracks. A layup by Vitols gave Ventspils a lead for the first time at 18-20, but it was far from the last one for the visitors. The Latvians started to extend the advantage quickly as consecutive three.pointers came from Johnson, Shannon and Vitols. Those ballooned the Ventspils lead to 14 points, 28-42, in the next-to-last minute of the quarter although Besiktas was able to cut it to 30-42 by the break.
Ventspils enjoyed a lot of fastbreaks at the beginning of the second half and ended those with points by Shannon and mostly by Vitols, whose layup in the 22nd minute increased the gap to 18 points, 32-50. Ventspils then suffered a four-minute scoring drought during which Besiktas tried to get back in the game. Halfway through the quarter, free throws by Jamel Thomas capped a 6-0 burst that got the home team within 38-50. Helmanis got Ventspils back on track with free throws and when Johnson hit a jumper from the left corner, the visitors were back in charge at 40-59. Shannon added a three-pointer before Besiktas found some points toward the end of the quarter, but still entered the last one on the wrong side of a 47-64 scoreboard. Besiktas had an ambitious start to the last quarter with an aggressive defence against Ventspils. Five points from Ozcan plus a layup from Ozer fired up the home team and got the difference down to single digits, 56-64, with 6 minutes left. Ventspils, scoreless for 4 minutes 20 seconds this time, woke up with 5 straight points by Raimonds Gabranas and found a way to slow down Besiktas again. Shannon made it 59-74 by hitting a triple and a two-point jumper, the Ventspils kept Besiktas from rallying late to hang onto a respectable 65-76 road win.