CSKA Moscow followed the script and stayed unbeaten in Group C by beating Pau-Orthez 93-103 on the road in Pau, France, on Wednesday night. CSKA improved to 12-0 and stays unbeaten in all official competitions, extending its winning streak to 27 games between the Euroleague and the Russian league. Meanwhile, Pau dropped to 3-9 and will need more than a miracle to keep its Top 16 dreams alive. Martin Muursepp led the winners with 21 points on 6 of 7 threes, Aleksey Savrasenko added 16 points on 8-for-13 shooting, J.R. Holden 13, Theo Papaloukas 11 and 8 assists while Marcus Brown had 10 for CSKA. Artur Drozdov led Pau-Orthez with 21 points on 4 of 5 threes, Mire Chatman added 19 points, Johan Petro 13 on 5-for-5 shooting and T.J. Lux 10 for the hosts, who played without injured star Laurent Foirest. CSKA gave a shooting exhibition in the second quarter in which the guests got a safe lead and kept it until the final buzzer without further troubles.
Both teams started the game with man-to-man defenses and having enough patience in offense. Pau controlled the game in the early going despite an opening basket in the low post by Savrasenko. A three-pointer by Drozdov ignited a 7-0 run capped by Chatman's free throws to give the hosts a 7-2 lead. Muursepp and Holden fired in one three apiece to put CSKA back in charge at 7-8. Seven lead changes followed in a high-profile back and forth battle. Holden followed a layup with a tough three-point play for a 13-15 CSKA lead. Chatman and Drozdov stepped up with back-to-back threes while Petro added a long jumper for a 21-17 Pau margin. Drozdov nailed another three to give Pau its biggest lead in this period, 24-18, but Antonio Granger stepped up with a big put-back basket while Andersen scored around the basket to bring CSKA within 24-22 after 10 minutes.
Andersen worked well in the low post to drew a foul and tie the game, 24-24, while Muursepp stepped up with back-to-back threes, the second one from the right corner to cap a 2-8 run for a 26-30 CSKA margin. Lux tried to change things with a short basket, but Muursepp was on fire. He fired in his third triple in this period and Sergey Monya copied it from downtown to give CSKA its biggest lead so far, forcing a Pau timeout at 28-36. Papaloukas dunked to boost the guests' lead to double digits at 28-38. Chatman had 4 of 4 free throws in a 6-0 run which brought Pau back into the game at 34-38. It didn't last long, as Holden drilled a mid-range jumper and Papaloukas added a layup off a steal, igniting a 2-9 run which Monya capped with his second three for a 36-47 CSKA lead. Andersen had to leave the game with an injury, and Chatman scored off the dribble, but it wasn't enough. Dikoudis took over with consecutive baskets in the paint, but a technical foul on Dusan Ivkovic changed things. Free throws by Frederic Fauthoux and a wild dunk by Petro brought Pau within 45-51 at halftime.
Brown opened the hostilities in the second half with a floating layup while Muursepp fired in another corner three to make CSKA stay out of trouble at 45-56. Julius Nwosu tried to make Pau up with a mid-range jumper, but Savrasenko scored twice in the paint while Brown added an outstanding off-balance jumper to make it a 13-point game, 49-62. Only then Pau got the right rhythm, as a put-back basket by Lux ignited a 6-0 run in which Nwosu had 4 points, good to bring the hosts within 55-62. Pau had entered the foul bonus too early and CSKA got advantage of it, as Holden and Brown combined 3 free throws for a 57-65 score. The guests improved once Papaloukas came off the bench, as he scored in penetration and gave a length of the court pass to Brown from an easy layup, making Pau call timeout at 59-70. Papaloukas carried on rolling, as he scored in penetration and dished his seventh assist to Savrasenko. Zakhar Pashutin shined with 2 threes in the final minute, as the second one beat the buzzer for a 67-80 CSKA lead after 30 minutes.
Thierry Rupert scored in the paint to give Pau some hope at 69-80. Sergei Panov immediately matched that in the other end, as CSKA played now with long possessions while dominating the defensive rebound. Both teams now tried to provide some showtime, as Brown drilled a tough jumper and fed Savrasenko for a two-handed dunk, while Drozdov made a acrobatic shot in the paint. With all that, Pau only managed to exchange baskets with its opponents. Pashutin dunked it to make CSKA enter the final 5 minutes with a 73-88 margin. Chatman slashed to the basket for a layup, Petro added a mid-range jumper and Drozdov a two-handed dunk but Muursepp fired in his sixth three in as many attempts for a 79-93 CSKA edge with less than 4 minutes remaining. Drozdov and Fauthoux drilled back-to-back threes, but it was simply not enough. CSKA entered the final minute with a 89-95 margin, as a second-chance layup by Monya and free throws by Papaloukas sealed the outcome.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005