The first upset of the season of the season is on the books after Montepaschi strode into Moscow and outlasted CSKA 69-74 on Wednesday in Group D. CSKA had won its first 17 games last season and has made the last three Final Fours, so any win in Moscow is valuable. Montepaschi got it with leadership from two players making their Euroleague debuts. Duane Woodward helped seize the lead in the second quarter and finished with 23 points, including a key basket when Montepaschi's lead was a single point in the next-to-last minute. His scoring partner was Rimantas Kaukenas, who poured in 21 points worth of big shots. Mindaugas Zukauskas added 11 points off the bench in just 15 minutes for the winners, who mad 64% of their two-point shots (21 of 33). CSKA, which had an early lead and never could get it back, got 13 points from Sergei Panov, 12 from David Andersen and 10 from David Vanterpool. CSKA was hurt by long shooting as J.R. Holden and Trajan Langdon missed a combined 13 of their 15 three-point tries.
Both teams started out cold from the field, with CSKA getting on the scoreboard first with back-to-back layups from Matjaz Smodis, but he turned his ankle on the second basket and had to leave the floor, replaced by Nikita Shabalkin with CSKA leading 4-0. Montepaschi scored its first basket 20 seconds later after Justin Hamilton fed Woodward with a nifty pass underneath for an easy basket. From there it was a battle between Kaukenas and CSKA's balanced attack. Kaukenas repeatedly got to the rim, scoring 8 points in the quarter. Alexei Savrasenko, off the bench, brought energy for CSKA in the paint, scoring two straight baskets and handing off an assist, but a fastbreak laying by Kaukenas with 5 seconds remaining cut the CSKA lead to 17-11, and the home team failed to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.
J.R. Holden opened up the second-quarter scoring for CSKA, knocking down a three-pointer to put his team up by its largest lead yet, 20-11. From there, however, Montepaschi began to whittle away at the deficit, thanks to three straight baskets by Kaukenas and Woodward, the last burying a three-pointer, the first of 7 straight points he put in for the visitors. Panov, just off the bench, ended the Montepaschi run with consecutive layups, one off a nice pass from Theodoros Papaloukas. But that's when Woodward added his next 4 points, including an acrobatic up-and-under shot, to bring his team to within 25-23 with 3:30 to play in the half. Now Montepaschi had its rhythm. Woodward knocked down another shot from the arc, to give Montepaschi its first lead of the game, 31-32, with 1:18 left in the half, after which neither team managed to score, leaving the visitors ahead at the break.
After halftime, Woodward picked up where he left off , scoring on Montepaschi's first possession as the Italian squad slowly built on its lead. Panov continued his stellar play with a three-pointer and a shot near the basket, but Kaukenas answered from the right corner midway through the quarter to give the Italians their biggest lead of the game, 41-45, forcing CSKA to take a timeout. Montepaschi got aggressive on the offensive boards, led by Shaun Stonebrook and Robert Chiacig off the bench, and continued to attack CSKA's man-to-man defense. After trailing by as many as 7, David Vanderpool scored 7 straight points to bring CSKA to within 1 point, 51-52, with 30 seconds to play in the 3rd. Boisa corralled an offensive rebound and scored on the following possession, but Papaloukas hit two free-throws in the waning seconds to cut Siena's lead to 53-54 entering the final period.
The intensity as the fourth quarter began, but CSKA's turnovers and poor rebounding on the defensive end allowed Montepaschi to push its lead to 56-61. A three-pointer by Holden from the top breathed new life into the home team, and his three-point driving basket-plus-foul soon tied the game, 61-61, with 6:30 to play. But after a Montepaschi timeout, Kaukenas scored 5 straight points to make it 66-61 with 4:45 to play. Andersen hit 2 foul shots, but after a steal and layup by Justin Hamilton of Montepaschi, Woodward glided in for a fastbreak laying to make it 63-68, forcing a CSKA timeout. Langdon's jumper plus a steal-and-break by Papaloukas got CSKA back within 67-68 with 2:05 to play, but Woodward again stepped up, slashing to the hoop for a layup that made it 67-70 with 1:20 to play. CSKA could not convert its next chances and a left-handed layup by Eze with 15 seconds left let the visitors leave Moscow with a precious victory to start the season.
Wednesday, November 2, 2005