CSKA rallies past Milan in a thriller
In one of the best games so far this season, CSKA Moscow remained undefeated in the competition by topping AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 85-90 on the road on Thursday. CSKA improved to 6-0 in the standings, while Milan dropped to 4-2. Cory Higgins led the winners with 23 points, Nando De Colo added 18, Will Clyburn had 14, Alec Peters 10 and Sergio Rodriguez dished 10 assists for CSKA. Vladimir Micov led Milan with 24 points, Mike James and Arturas Gudaitis each added 16 and Dairis Bertans 12 for Milan. James added 12 assists for a double-double.
Clyburn and Othello Hunter combined for all the points in 0-7 opening run. Micov and James rescued Milan and a three-pointer by Bertans tied it at 11-11. James followed a layup with free throws, but Kyle Hines and De Colo tied it again, 16-16. A three-pointer by Jeff Brooks and a layup by Gudaitis helped Milan get a 21-16 lead after 10 minutes. Higgins followed a triple with a layup and back-to-back dunks by Hines and Clyburn caused Milan to stop the game at 23-25. Gudaitis kept pacing Milan, but Clyburn and Rodriguez allowed CSKA to boost its margin to 29-36. Gudaitis and Bertans fueled a 7-0 run that tied it again, 36-36. Bertans insisted from downtown and a layup by Micov saw the hosts regain the lead, 41-40, at halftime. Micov took over after the break and a power layup by Tarczewski made it 48-40. Tarczewski scored in transition and a red-hot Micov made it a double-digit game, 56-45. CSKA kept struggling at both ends and a driving layup by James prompted the visitors to call timeout at 64-51. De Colo struck twice from downtown in a 0-10 run highlighted by Higgins's huge dunk as CSKA returned to the game at 66-63 after 30 minutes. Free throws by Peters completed CSKA's comeback, 66-68, early in the fourth quarter. A jumper by Higgins and a big triple by Peters made it 71-77. A corner triple by James turned the game into a thriller at 80-80 with two minutes remaining. Higgins hit a mid-range jumper, which Hines followed with a layup for an 80-84 CSKA edge. Higgins and Hines sealed the outcome down the stretch.
Higgins was just unstoppable in the second half, scoring 16 points in the final 12 minutes to make sure CSKA went back home with a valuable road win. He finished the game with 23 points, hitting 6 of 8 two-point shots and 8 of 8 free throws for a PIR of 28.
CSKA trailed 64-51 late in the third quarter but De Colo and Higgins each had 12 points in a 2-17 run that gave the visitors the lead, 66-68. The game went down to the wire, but CSKA's comeback came in a critical moment for the Russian powerhouse.
CSKA shot better from all distances in this game. It hit 57.1% inside the arc, 40% from downtown and 85.7% from the foul line. Milan scored 52.3% of its two-point shots, 34.8% from beyond the arc and 79% from the foul line.
Did you notice?
James set a new career high in assists. His previous record was 8 when Milan faced Khimki Moscow Region earlier this season, on October 25.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Milan visits Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul on Thursday. A day later, CSKA travels to Germany to face FC Bayern Munich.
Thursday, November 8, 2018