|Aaron Mc Ghee was a menace under the boards for Ural Ekaterinburg, claiming 16 rebounds|
Ural Ekaterinburg held Tsmoki Minsk to just six points in the final period to take a 69-65 victory and book their place in the EuroChallenge quarter-finals.
The Russian team were looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Bakken Bears Aarhus in their last EuroChallenge outting, and got off to a hot start as Alexander Korchagin's lay-up capped a 12-1 run to start the game.
Tsmoki Minsk worked their way back into the game as their defence clamped down in the second quarter. The Belarusian team fed off Keith Benson Jr, who scored 12 points in the second period alone before Branko Mirkovic's lay-up reduced Ural Ekaterinburg's lead to three at half-time.
A strong third quarter for the visitors was capped by Aliaksei Lashkevich's three-point play with 70 seconds remaining, which put Minsk ahead by six.
The tense final period went scoreless for the first two minutes, but the home side regained the lead on another lay-up from Korchagin. The visitors battled furiously, and were only one point behind in the final minute, but Demonte Harper couldn't get his shot to fall despite three attempts, and Anton Glazunov finally cleaned up the defensive glass before outletting to Lance Harris for a dunk. Mirkovic's last attempt fell short as Ural Ekaterinburg held on.
Aaron McGhee's 16 rebounds were a huge factor as the competition's top two rebounding teams fought the battle of the boards to a draw. Glazunov ended with nine assists while Harris and Dmitry Flis led the Russian team with 12 points apiece. Benson ended with a double-double, recording a game-high 18 points plus 11 rebounds in a losing cause.
Tsmoki Minsk can still qualify for the quarter-finals today, if Team TEHO Sport Kotka defeat Bakken Bears Aarhus in their match-up later this evening.