CSKA overcomes bad start to blow out Valencia
A slow start forced by an aggressive visitor did nothing to impede CSKA Moscow from walloping Valencia Basket 94-67 on Thursday to keep its home winning streak alive. CSKA improved its record to 5-1, keeping its share of first place, and left Valencia two victories behind in the standings at 3-3. Valencia led 6-17 midway through the first quarter before Nando De Colo came off the bench to lead a 14-2 run as CSKA led 20-19 after one quarter and 43-58 at halftime. A 30-16 advantage in the third quarter busted the game open and Valencia never had a chance after that. De Colo led all scorers with 23 points despite not playing the final quarter. Cory Higgins followed with 16, while Othello Hunter, among five CSKA players with 8 points, ripped 5 of his 10 rebounds on the offensive glass. Tibor Pleiss had 12 points, Fernando San Emeterio and Bojan Dubljevic 11 each for Valencia.
Pleiss made a hook shot and a baseline jumper to spark a 0-6 start for Valencia. Higgins scored first for CSKA, but Aaron Doornekamp's second jumper plus Erick Green's first 4 points on a breakaway and free throws meant a double-digit difference, 4-14. Hunter became CSKA's second scorer on a put-back, but Doornekamp did him one better from the corner, forcing a CSKA timeout at 6-17. De Colo scored on his first touch, as did Will Clyburn, narrowing the gap to 12-19. De Colo kept adding free throws until he drove for a tricky layup to complete a 14-2 run with CSKA leading 20-19 after one quarter. Pleiss returned with a pair of layups as Valencia reclaimed a 20-23 lead. Andrey Vorontsevich hit CSKA's first triple to tie and Pleiss answered with a long two-pointer. San Emeterio and De Colo traded driving layups, but the latter added an assist to Sergio Rodriguez for a 27-27 tie. Kyle Hines broke the tie with free throws and Vorontsevich finished the next fastbreak with a dunk as CKSA kept turning defense into offense to lead 31-27. Guillem Vives joined the Valencia scorers with a three-point play at 31-33. A Hines layup was followed by Dubljevic scoring 5 points to make it even closer, 37-36. De Colo and Higgins were relentless, however, as they stretched the CSKA lead to 43-38 at halftime.
Hunter rocked the rim and hit free throws to boost CSKA's lead to 47-38. Vorontsevich hit a three-pointer in transition and De Colo another as the lead soared to 53-40. Green with a follow-up and Sam Van Rossom from deep steadied Valencia, but Nikita Kurbanov joined the CSKA scoring column in style with a loose-ball dunk. De Colo, Vives and Kurbanov traded triples before Hunter slammed a rebound for a 15-point lead, 63-48. De Colo was unconscious now, dropping a face-up three from way downtown. Mikhail Kulagin stepped off CSKA's bench for the first time all season with a triple and the lead assist on a quarter-ending dunk by Hines that made it 73-54 after 30 minutes. Higgins and San Emeterio trades twos and threes, respectively, to open the fourth quarter before Kurbanov made CSKA's next from downtown for 20-point lead, 80-60. Higgins drilled the following triple, CSKA's 10th in 15 tries until then, but San Emeterio came back with his own. Still, time was ticking, under 5 minutes left, and CSKA was still up 20. Kulagin and CSKA's defenders took care of business from there to the finish to extend the team's home winning streak to 14 games.
Thursday, November 9, 2017