CSKA punches playoff ticket
CSKA Moscow became the second team to qualify for the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs by downing Zenit St Petersburg 74-86 at Sibur Arena on Tuesday. CSKA improved to 21-10 and registered its third consecutive win. Meanwhile, Zenit dropped to 17-14 and slipped out of the playoff zone. Johannes Voigtmann led the winners with 21 points, Toko Shengelia added 14 and Daniel Hackett and Will Clyburn each scored 13 for CSKA. Billy Baron led Zenit with 24 points, Will Thomas scored 13 and Kevin Pangos 12 for the hosts. Michael Eric, Hackett and Voigtmann helped CSKA to an 18-22 lead after 10 minutes. CSKA extended its margin to 42-48 at halftime and then again to 50-61 late in the third quarter. Voigtmann and Shengelia made sure they kept CSKA way ahead until the final buzzer.
Eric got CSKA going with a put-back layup and a jump hook in a 0-6 opening run. Thomas scored down low and Baron added a driving layup, but Shengelia and Hackett boosted the guests' lead to 4-11. Nikita Kurbanov erased Arturas Gudaitis's jump hook with a power layup and Eric scored again for a 6-15 CSKA lead. Baron struck twice from downtown and Thomas added another one to bring Zenit within 15-16. Voigtmann followed a layup with a triple, but Pangos answered from beyond the arc to keep the hosts within 18-22 after 10 minutes. Pangos hit a floater early in the second quarter. After Voigtmann and Baron traded three-pointers, Tarik Black scored in the paint to tie it at 25-25. Iffe Lundberg and Voigtmann rescued CSKA and Clyburn sank a corner triple that made it 29-32. Lundberg banked in a close shot and got help from Clyburn to restore a 32-37 CSKA lead. Andrey Zubkov struck from downtown and Austin Hollins added a high-flying tip-in, but Voigtmann and Kurbanov kept their team ahead, 40-46. Black and Shengelia traded baskets to fix the halftime score at 42-48.
Baron buried a jumper soon after the break and Thomas added a reverse layup, but Hackett answered with back-to-back baskets for a 46-52 score. Eric took over with a put-back layup and Shengelia made it a double-digit game, 46-56. Hackett bettered Thomas's dunk with a triple. Ponitka and Pangos gave Zenit hope at 53-61. Black ignited the crowd with a show-stopping dunk and Thomas brought the hosts even closer, 57-61. Clyburn made it 57-63 after 30 minutes. Voigtmann scored in the paint early in the fourth quarter and Lundberg scored in penetration for a 10-point CSKA margin. Thomas dunked, but a red-hot Ponitka answered from beyond the arc to break the game open, 59-72. Lundberg beat the shot clock with a driving layup and Shengelia scored down low, but Baron and Pangos brought Zenit within 68-76 with 4 minutes left. Shengelia banked in an off-balance shot and buried a three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 70-81, as Zenit did not recover.
Johannes Voigtmann came off the bench and made the difference with an all-around scoring performance. He finished the game with 21 points on near-perfect shooting, hitting 3 two-point shots, 6 free throw attempts and only missing once from downtown (3 of 4). He added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 4 fouls drawn for a PIR of 31.
Zenit managed to get within 57-61 late in the third quarter. Will Clyburn hit a pair of free throws, Iffe Lundberg added a driving layup and Johannes Voigtmann followed a close basket with a three-pointer. CSKA boosted its margin to 59-72 and went on to control the game until the final buzzer.
Zenit made 6 of 17 three-point shots (35.3%) in the first half. Things changed after the break, however, as Zenit only buried 2 of 11 shots from downtown (18.2%). CSKA only had 8 turnovers and forced Zenit into 13.
Did you know?
Zenit is 0-8 this season when allowing at least 80 points. CSKA became the first squad to score at least 80 points against Zenit twice.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Friday, April 2. CSKA welcomes crosstown rival Khimki Moscow Region. Zenit hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.
Tuesday, March 30, 2021