CSKA got back on the winning track in Group C by using a barrage of three-pointers to turn back visiting Benetton 83-67 in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday. CSKA improved to 3-1 with the victory while Benetton fell to 2-2. CSKA drilled 13 of its 22 three-point tries, including 7 in the third quarter, to keep the visitors at bay. Trajan Langdon hit all 4 of his bombs in that third quarter on the way to 16 points, the same total as David Anderson, who went 2 for 2 from downtown. J.R. Holden and Matjaz Smodis had 14 points and made 3 triples each. Marco Mordente led the visitors with 14 points, while Matteo Soragna had 12, Spencer Nelson and Marcus Goree 10 each. Goree added 11 rebounds for a double-double. Benetton missed its first 14 three-point tries before Mordente hit 3 in as many minutes late in the third quarter to cut CSKA's lead down to 4 points. Benetton within striking distance until mid-way through the fourth, but after a Holden triple, couldn't rally more.
Joey Beard opened the scoring with a basket underneath but soon Andersen fed Alexey Savrasenko for a 2-2 tie. The defensive machine of CSKA started to work, but Benetton tried to find spaces and Soragna tied at 4-4. Andersen and Soragna traded triples, but the defenses ruled for now and baskets were rather scarce. Benetton tried to switch individual and zone defenses, but on offense could not get past CSKA's big men in the paint. Theodoros Papaloukas stepped in for the hosts and soon found a three-point play to make it 12-6 in minute 7. Consecutive baskets by Nelson and Soragna plus a free throw got Benetton back to within 12-11 soon before another three-point play by Papaloukas gave some air back to CSKA. Defense and free throws from David Vanterpool and Smodis did the rest as the hosts skated to a 20-11 lead after 10 minutes.
Angelo Gigli of Benetton and Anton Ponkrashov of CSKA traded baskets to start the second quarter, then a three-pointer by Smodis gave CSKA its first double-digit lead, 26-15. Beard picked up Benetton's scoring inside, but the defenses were dominating again. Both sides looked in the paint to add points, but didn't succeed much until Mordente appeared with a jump shot to get Benetton closer at 26-21. CSKA defense forced Benetton to long attacks, but offensive rebounds allowed for new shot opportunites, one of which Soragna converted to make it 27-23. Andersen and JR Holden found some more points for CSKA as the game champs reached halftime in front by 31-25.
CSKA broke the game open on the basis of three-point shooting early in the second half, but not before Goree had hit a jumper and dunked to put Benetton within 34-29. Langdon had already hit a triple, however, and in the next 4 minutes, he, Holden and Smodis all struck from the arc to drag CSKA way out in front, 45-31, forcing a Benetton timeout. Langdon hit another triple to make it 48-33, but Benetton stormed back anyway, first going inside to Goree and Nelson, then to the hot shooting hand of Mordente, whose back-to-back three-pointers made it 49-45. CSKA needed the next timeout, and afterwards struck back with more triples, including Holden's second and Langdon's fourth of the quarter, for a 57-47 edge. But Mordente wasn't done and closed the quarter with his third bomb in as many minutes, plus a free throw, for a four-point play that left a 57-51 score after 30 minutes.
Smodis kept the triple festival alive by opening the final quarter with his own. Goree and Spencer went inside to keep the visitors within 5 points, 60-55, but CSKA's defense keyed a 6-2 mini-run that reestablished breathing room. Benetton saw its last chance come with Zisis scoring 5 points in a row, including 3 free throws that made it 69-62 with just over 3 minutes left. That, however, is when Holden, seemingly trapped on the side, launched his third successful three-pointer of the night to make it 72-62. Nikita Kurbanov's layup after that meant that the lead would not be threatened the rest of the way and CSKA had returned to the win column in Group C.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006