CSKA Moscow double-stamped its Group C title by rallying to defeat second-place Winterthur FCB 70-78 on the road in Barcelona on Thursday despite missing two starters. CSKA's 10th consecutive victory raised its record to 12-1, best in the entire Euroleague. Barcelona dropped to 8-5 and a likely second-level seeding in the upcoming Top 16 Draw. After trailing by 16 at haltime, CSKA used a 7-19 third quarter to get back in the game. J.R.Holden helped cap the rally by putting CSKA ahead late in the fourth quarter before Jaka Lakovic banged a triple on the buzzer for Barcelona to force overtime at 65-65. A 0-7 surge midway through the extra session sealed the victory for CSKA, who played without its leading scorer, Matjaz Smodis, and defender, David Vanterpool. Holden led the winners with 18 points, while David Andersen had 15, Theo Papaloukas 14 and 9 assists. Trajan Langdon added 12 points and Thomas Van Den Spiegel had 10 for CSKA. Lakovic was the hosts' best scorer with 13 points, while Juan Carlos Navarro added 11 and Gianluca Basile 10.
Langdon posted a quick jumper to start the game, and he soon added a three-point play for a 0-5 CSKA lead in 90 seconds. The pace was fast, but only when the ball reached Denis Marconato's hands did Barcelona score, as he found 4 points in a row. A long hook and added free throw by Aleksey Savrasenko made it 4-8. Both teams ran a lot as Lakovic and Papaloukas traded buckets. CSKA pulled Andersen from the paint to hit a five-meter jumper. Lakovic started to get his touch, too. His next basket and the first by Rodrigo De la Fuente made it 11-12. Fran Vazquez put the hosts ahead for the first time with free throws, 13-12, and soon slammed over youngster Andrei Voroncevich. Barca was on fire now as Navarro hit on triple to seal an 8-2 run and a 19-14 lead. After a free throw by Holden, Navarro bombed from the arc again and closed the first quarter with free throws for a 24-17 score.
Papaloukas and Michalis Kakiouzis started the scoring race in the second quarter. A Kakiouzis dunk upped the lead to 28-19 but soon Anton Ponkrashov fed Andersen underneath for a basket. Roko-Leni Ukic's triple sent Barcelona's lead over 10 points to 32-21. The hosts managed to break CSKA's defense again and again with passes and cuts, while the visitors' offense suffered. Roger Grimau blasted a three-pointer for Barcelona as the crowd got noise, but Van Den Spiegel quieted them with an easy layup. Basile put in 4 consecutive points, including a fastbreak, and Kakiouzis registered a big block on Langdon as Barcelona ruled the boards by a 22-11 margin after 19 minutes. When Lakovic downed another layup, Barcelona took a 43-27 advantage into halftime.
Andersen opened the second half with CSKA's first triple after eight attempts, and Papaloukas followed with the second. Savrasenko's layup made it an 0-8 run as the visitors pulled within 43-35. De la Fuente stopped the bleeding for Barcelona with a hook, but Papaloukas answered for CSKA, whose run hit 2-12 when Van den Spiegel slammed. Holden poured it on with another triple as the difference closed all the way to 42-45. Ukic got a free throw from the hosts, but CSKA scored again on a fastbreak. Basile hit the long turnaround jumper that Van den Spiegel matches with free throws to help CSKA stay close at, 48-46. Basile hit free throws and Papaloukas fed Nikita Kourbanov as the quarter ended with Barcelona clinging to a 50-48 edge.
With some effort, Jordi Trias managed to score to open the final quarter for Barcelona, but Langdon made it look easy converting Papaloukas's sixth assist. The action slowed until Holden blasted a triple to make it a one-point game, 54-53. Vazquez saved Barcelona this time, blocking Van den Spiegel's shot and scoring to make it 56-53, but Papaloukas was waiting with a triple to tie at 56-56. The game entered its last 4 minutes with Lakovic's long jumper and another block by Vazquez on Van den Spiegel as the hosts went up 60-56. Soon, however, Holden uncorked another triple to put CSKA ahead for the first time since the game's opening minutes, 60-61. When Barcelona missed its next shot, Holden did it again, blasting another from downtown to make it 60-63. With 9 seconds to go, Lakovic scored free throws to make it 62-63 and Barca fouled fast. Free throws by Andersen made it 62-65 with eight seconds to go, but Lakovic stepped up in the last second from seven meters to hit the three-pointer that tied the game at 65-65 after regulation time.
Navarro finally scored again to open the extra session but Papaloukas replied fast for CSKA. Van den Spiegel fed Andersen for a jumper, and when Langdon posted a three-pointer it looked like CSKA was starting to control the game, 68-72. CSKA played by heart as new baskets by Holden and Van den Spiegel made it 68-76. Marconato replied going into the last minute, but Andersen did the same to secure CSKA's new road win by 70-78.
Thursday, January 25, 2007