CSKA won 65-55 over Union Olimpija
CSKA Moscow is no longer winless in Group D of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague after beating Union Olimpija 65-55 at the Universal Sports Hall on Wednesday. With the win, Dusko Vujosevic’s crew better its record to 1-3 and will be tied with either Armani Jeans Milano or Power Electronics Valencia, for fifth place after their Thursday night meeting. The Russian champions dominated the boards with a 41-30 rebounding edge and the CSKA faithful enjoyed a memorable night by Jamont Gordon, who flirted with a triple double and finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Trajan Langdon also contributed to the cause with 12 points and Alexei Shved added 10. Kevinn Pinkney was the shining light for Olimpija with 26 points and Vlado Ilievski added 9. Olimpija dropped to 3-1 and will host PE Valencia in Ljubljana next week, while CSKA will have another tough matchup, as it travels to Istanbul to face to Efes Pilsen.
Both teams had trouble finding the basket early, with the emphasis being on defense and rebounding until Ilievski and J.R. Holden traded three-pointers to get the scoreboard moving. Holden's triple made it 22 Euroelague games in a row for him scoring from behind the arc. Fueled by stout defense, specifically on Kenny Gregory’s signature low post moves, and decisive penetration through Olimpija's defense, CSKAjumped to a 9-3 start. The hosts kept building their lead with Holden and Gordon directing a half-court offense that featured good mid-range opportunities for Trajan Langdon, whose next basket provided the game's first double-digit lead , 13-3, forcing an Olimpija timeout. The visitors came back with a quick dunk by Giorgi Shermadini, but CSKA did not let up and answered with a couple of strong moves inside by Bojan Marjanovic . Then Andrey Vorontsevich lined up and nailed a triple that gave CSKA a new high lead of 20-5 at the end of 10 minutes.
With outside shots hard to come by, Olimpija went into the post at the beginning of the second quarter, looking for Pinkney’s back-to-the-basket arsenal and cutting the lead to 20-8. But again the margin grew in favor of the hosts, as three-pointers by Alexey Shved and Vorontsevich made it a 20-point difference after 15 minutes. After another Olimpija timeout, a Dmitriy Sokolov dunk gave CSKA its biggest cushion yet, 30-8. Olimpija opted to speed up the game some, but Gordon dominated the pace for CSKA, delivering 7 assists in the first half and also adding 5 rebounds along the way. When he got some rest near the end of the quarter, however, Olimpija capitalized and built a 0-7 run behind buckets by Ilievski, Goran Jagodnik and Zoran Vrkic. The reaction was good enough for the visitors to break even in the second quarter, although CSKA still owned a commanding 34-19 after 20 minutes.
To start the third quarter, Olimpija showed why it leads Group C, racing off on a 4-11 run courtesy of some fine inside play by Pinkney and Kenny Gregory’s first basket, a tough layup under the basket. Pinkney was suddenly feeling it from all angles as CSKA could not find an answer for him, and he trimmed the deficit to 41-33 with his first triple, establishing himself as the game’s first double-digit scorer at 14 points. Gordon quickly joined him with a hot hand for 7 straight points of his own that gave him 13 and kept CSKA safe at 45-33. Langdon joined him with a tough corner triple that gave him 12 points and kept the hosts lead in double-digits, 51-39 after 30 minutes. CSKA was also leading the battle of the boards 35-22 at that point.
With everything at stake in a must-win situation, CSKA turned again to Gordon, who responded with a highlight-worthy play on a gorgeous spinning layup that made it 55-42. After Damir Markota scored his first basket of the game for Olimpija, Vrkic added a triple and Gregory a layup. The unstoppable Pinkney then detonated a three-point bomb that suddenly had the scoreboard showing 55-50 just two quarters after CSKA had enjoyed a 20-point advantage. Olimpija kept following Pinkney, and he delivered with a tough layup in traffic to make it 59-52 with three minutes left, but CSKA kept executing calmly under Gordon, who approached triple-double territory at 15 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. A second possession off an offensive rebound by Shved seemed to deflate the visitors in the closing minute, before dueling triples by Pinkney and Vorontsevich left CSKA a 65-55 victor in a strong display of defense that is just what the fans in Moscow needed to see.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010