CSKA stays perfect after winning OT thriller at Fenerbahce
A first-time Turkish Airlines Euroleague showdown between former coaching partners produced playoff-level intensity as visiting CSKA Moscow outlasted Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 81-84 after overtime in their Top 16 Group F opener on Friday. Nando De Colo's free throws and steal in the waning seconds guaranteed the victory after a basket by Sonny Weems had sent the game to the extra period for CSKA, the only undefeated team in the regular season. CSKA now opens Group F with a 1-0 mark. Fenerbahce saw its six-game winning streak end to start the new group 0-1. The game marked the first Euroleague meeting ever between Zeljko Obradovic of Fenerbahce and Dimitris Itoudis of CSKA, who were head coach and assistant, respectively, during 13 seasons and five Euroleague titles together for Panathinaikos Athens. The game, a riveting back-and-forth battle full of crowd-pleasing shot-making against intense defenses, lived up to their legacy. CSKA led by as many as 8 points early but neither team went ahead by that much again as the scoreboard featured 10 lead changes and 10 ties in the last three quarters and overtime. Weems and Kyle Hines led the winners with 13 points each while Milos Teodosic had 12, De Colo, Andrey Vorontsevich and Sasha Kaun 10 each. Vorontsevich pulled 10 rebounds for a double-double. Andrew Goudelock was the game's top scorer with 19 points for Fenerbahce. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 16, while Nemanja Bjelica played all but 13 seconds and had a double-double of 10 points, 11 rebounds. CSKA made its first 25 free throws on the way to 33-for-36 accuracy at the line for the game, compared to 15 of 24 for Fenerbahce.
First quarter: CSKA grabs early advantage
Aaron Jackson knocked down a three to start the scoring, and Weems fed Kaun for a layup and a 0-5 lead. Bogdanovic hit a triple to open Fenerbahce's account, and Semih Erden had an uncontested dunk to get within 5-7. After Weems and Vitaly Fridzon each hit one from downtown, Goudelock made a pair of buckets for the hosts. Jackson drove for a layup that helped CSKA move in front, 10-17. Goudelock nailed a three-pointer from the corner, but De Colo and Milos Teodosic each sank a pair from the foul line to extend the difference to 13-21. Luka Zoric made a put-back dunk and Bogdanovic buried a three, but CSKA kept getting to the free throw line, and making free throws to stay ahead. However, Goudelock had a pair of layups – one on a fast break after a steal, and the other driving through the visitors’ defense – to tie the score at 25-25. Teodosic sent a no-look pass to Kyle Hines, who scored a layup-plus-free throw – making his team perfect 13-for-13 from the free throw line – to give CSKA a 25-28 lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Goudelock and Bogdanovic rally the hosts, but CSKA regains lead
Jackson nailed a jumper and Hines dunked for a 25-32 lead, causing Coach Obradovic to call a timeout. Nemanja Bjelica made a layup for the hosts, and after Weems answered with a jumper, Nikos Zisis hit from long range and Bogdanovic followed, stringing together a triple and a jumper for Fener’s first lead, 35-34. Kaun scored a put-back, but Emir Preldzic sank a wide-open three-pointer. De Colo drove for a layup, but Vesely had a pair of dunks that made it 42-38. Vorontsevich hit from long range, and Weems from close for CSKA to regain the advantage, and the visitors kept Fenerbahce scoreless for almost three minutes at the end of the quarter, going into halftime up 42-45.
Third quarter: Fenerbahce goes on 12-0 run, CSKA answers again
Bogdanovic and Vorontsevich traded threes early on in the second half, but those were the only baskets in the opening three minutes of the quarter. Weems ended the drought with a driving layup, and Teodosic fed Kaun for an easy dunk as CSKA’s defense kept the hosts to that single three-pointer for more than five minutes. But Goudelock buried a triple to make it 48-52, Ricky Hickman followed with 3-for-5 from the free throw line, and Oguz Savas put-back one of those misses to continue the hosts’ run. Bjelica added a long three-pointer over Teodosic, and Savas split free throws to make it 57-52. Teodosic snapped a 12-0 run with a three-pointer, before Hines and Vorontsevich each made a pair of free throws to put CSKA back in the lead, and take a 59-61 margin into the fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter: Game goes down to the wire, into overtime
Vorontsevich made a couple of free throws, making CSKA a perfect 23 of 23 for the night, but Vesely scored in a crowd inside, and Goudelock drove for a floater that tied it at 63-63. De Colo finished a breakaway with a layup for the visitors and had another easy layup for a 64-69 lead midway through the quarter. But Goudelock nailed a three-pointer, and Zoric followed with a mid-range jumper to knot it at 69-69. As the defenses stepped up, baskets were few and far between. Weems split free throws for the visitors, Zoric did the same for Fenerbahce, before a tip-in from Bogdanovic made it 72-70 with exactly 90 seconds to go in regulation. After a CSKA timeout, Teodosic drew a foul behind the three-point arc, and made 2 of 3 to tie the score again. Fenerbahce went ahead with a tip-in from Zoric, but Weems hit an off-the-dribble jumper to even things at 74-74. In the final 25 seconds of the fourth, Goudelock did not manage to convert a tough runner, and Bjelica missed a long triple, as the game went into an extra session.
Overtime: Teodosic, Hines make sure for CSKA
After 90 scoreless seconds in overtime, free throws by Teodosic put CSKA back in front, but Zoric soon answered to tie again, 76-76. Off another offensive rebound, Teodosic drilled a go-ahead triple at 76-79. Bjelica went to the foul line and got 2 points back for Fenerbahce. When Teodosic's next triple try missed, Hines tipped in the miss for a 78-81 lead with under 2 minutes left. A pair of missed free throws by Hines gave Fenerbahce new life. Bjelica made a steal and 1 of 2 free throws at 79-81 with 1:07 left. Bogdanovic snuffed a shot by Weems but missed his own layup with 18 seconds left. Weems went to the foul line and made just 1 of 2, giving Fenerbahce one more chance at 79-82 with 13 seconds left. Bogdanovic's three-point game-tying attempt missed with 6 seconds left but the offensive rebound went out of bounds to Fenerbahce and Hickman found Bjelica for a layup to make it 81-82 with 5 seconds left. Out of a timeout, De Colo was fouled and made 2 of 2 free throws. Fenerbahce, out of timeouts, tried to pass upcourt but De Colo stole the ball, sending the win back to Moscow with still-undefeated CSKA.
Friday, January 2, 2015