|Aaron Mc Ghee had a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double for the winning side|
Ural Ekaterinburg got off to a winning start in Group L of the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge as they proved too strong for Bakken Bears Aarhus in an 85-71 win.
Lance Harris scored 17 points to lead five Ekaterinburg players scoring in double figures against a Bears team who fought hard for three quarters before the hosts ran up the score at the finish.
The visitors, clear underdogs against this dominant Ekaterinburg team, were impressive in the first half, and when Chris Christoffersen started the second period with a lay-up, they led 22-15.
Harris tied it at 26-26 midway through the second period but the Bears kept scrapping and led 41-35 on Soren Qwist's basket before Harris and a three-pointer from Alexander Korchagin brought it back to a one-point game at the break.
Ekaterinburg nosed in front early in the third period but the Bears would not let go of their coat-tails, with Kenneth Barker's three-pointer keeping them in touch, 66-63 down when the third period ended.
But Ekaterinburg opened the final stanza with back-to-back threes from Anton Glazunov and Harris to extend their lead to nine, and they continued to ease away as the Bears ran out of steam.
An 11-0 run effectively settled it, with Glazunov's lay-up making it 85-67 with 71 seconds left.
Aaron McGhee added 15 points for Ekaterinburg, with Dmitry Flis adding 14, Dmitrii Nikolaev 12 and Korchagin 10.
Barker had 18 for the Bears, with Nicolai Iversen collecting 14 and Christoffersen 13.
Bakken Bears Head Coach Ville Tuominen
"We knew that the game was going to be tough, because it's a very good team. It's for the first time, that a Danish team has entered the Last 16. And even at home we expect it to be tough, because to play in the Last 16 is a big deal. It's a great experience for us just to be here. The rebounds have killed us. They had more offensive rebounds. Rebounds and turnovers - these are two things that we must work at. We had too many turnovers. We know that Ural is playing in EuroChallenge for the first time, too, but each team coming from Russia is a good team, because Russia is a good basketball country."
Bakken Bears Player Kenny Barker
"We came here to win, prepared, watched videos, but the Ural players are good shooters, and their team is stronger."
Ekaterinburg Head Coach Oleg Okulov
"They dictated their play, changed defence, used such forms of defence we seldom use in the Russian Championship. My guys played well, they are a highly committed team and deserve this win. It's very important that we continued to play. In the first quarter we missed very often, the percentage of three-pointers was only 17.1 per cent. It can be explained by the fact that the guys are tired, [Fedor] Kliuchnikov is injured, [Anton] Voskresenskii is a new player. I asked them to analyse the opponent's defence, and we succeeded in the last quarter. We had some unpleasant moments tonight, but I don't think we will have any easy games in the Last 16."
Ekaterinburg Player Dmitry Nikolaev
"The impressions of the game are extremely positive. We wished to win, to make easier our further playing. European games are more interesting. We have been playing against Russian teams every year, and we know what to expect. In the EuroChallenge everything is new. The Danish team is good. It will more complicated for us to play on the road. In the first half they dictated the pace, and the first half was not as successful for us."