CSKA holds off Baskonia's comeback
CSKA Moscow grabbed its third consecutive win in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season by holding off TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 89-86 at Megasport Arena on Thursday. CSKA's 500th EuroLeague game this century made it the first team to reach that milestone. CSKA improved to 5-3 in the standings while Baskonia dropped to 2-4. Darrun Hilliard led the winners with 31 points on 7-for-10 three-point shooting, tying a club record. Daniel Hackett added 16 points while Will Clyburn and Toko Shengelia each had 12 for CSKA. Youssoupha Fall led Baskonia with 19 points. Pierria Henry added 17 points -- 15 in the final 5 minutes. Alec Peters and Luca Vildoza each scored 13 and Rokas Giedraitis 10 for the guests. CSKA led 79-64 midway through the fourth quarter but Henry led Baskonia to tie it at 84-84. A three-pointer by Hilliard and free throws by Nikola Milutinov sealed the outcome in the final seconds.
Shengelia got CSKA going with a jump-hook and Hackett added a triple for a 5-0 lead. Giedraitis buried a floater but Hilliard downed a couple of jumpers in a 6-0 run that boosted the difference to 11-2. Giedraitis kept pacing Baskonia with a three-point play but Hackett and Hilliard made it a double-digit game, 15-5. Vildoza struck from downtown and Fall added a jump-hook but Hackett and Shengelia kept CSKA way ahead, 19-10. CSKA found new go-to guys in Nikita Kurbanov and Alexander Khomenko but Fall and Peters kept Baskonia within 23-16 after 10 minutes. Khomenko struck from beyond the arc early in the second quarter. Fall answered with a tip-in, igniting a 0-7 run that Peters capped with a jumper to get Baskonia as close as 26-22. Johannes Voigtmann hit a jumper and Hilliard nailed a triple for a 31-22 CSKA lead. Vildoza and Hackett traded jumpers but Fall scored again at 33-26. Hackett and Zoran Dragic traded triples before Hilliard struck twice more from downtown, giving CSKA a 42-29 lead. Giedraitis and Achille Polonara tried to change things for Baskonia but a red-hot Hilliard and Shengelia gave the hosts a 47-35 margin at halftime. Shengalia and Vildoza exchanged baskets soon after the break and Fall scored twice in the paint to bring Baskonia within 49-41. Hilliard followed a driving layup with a three-pointer and Hackett scored in transition but Peters and Arturs Kurucs gave Baskonia hope at 56-47. Hilliard, Khomenko and Clyburn all scored in penetration but Peters and Polonara kept the guests as close as 66-58 after 30 minutes. Hilliard downed his sixth three-pointer early in the fourth quarter and Clyburn bettered Vildoza's jumper with a bomb from beyond the arc, good for a 73-60 CSKA lead. Vildoza downed another jumper but so did Hackett, getting help from Nikola Milutinov and Clyburn to make it 79-64, seeming to seal the outcome. Instead, Henry rescued Baskonia with 11 points in 4 minutes, getting help from Fall and Giedraitis to bring Baskonia to within 82-80 with 1:19 left. Henry tied the game from the foul line with 48.4 seconds remaining. Clyburn and Henry traded jumpers and Hilliard sank a critical triple with 23.1 seconds left. Baskonia missed 3 consecutive shots and Milutinov sealed the win with free throws.
Hilliard had a career night, leading CSKA to a big win against his former team. He finished with a career-best 31 points on 5-of-6 two-point shots, 7-of-10 three-pointers, a rebound, 2 assists and 2 fouls drawn for a PIR of 32, also a personal-best. Only former CSKA icons Milos Teodosic, Nando De Colo and Trajan Langdon had ever made 7 three-pointers for the club before Hilliard did so on Thursday.
CSKA found good shots from beyond the arc midway through the second quarter. Hackett hit one and a red-hot Hilliard added three more, as CSKA extended its lead from 26-22 to 42-29. Baskonia never gave up but CSKA never gave up the lead from that moment.
Two-point shooting and turnovers made the difference in this game. CSKA buried 20-of-30 shots inside the arc (66.7%) and limited Baskonia to 20-of-37 (54.0%). Baskonia picked up 23 turnovers, its most since November 26, 2015 against Olympiacos Piraeus. CSKA limited turnovers to 14.
Did you know?
CSKA became the first time to play 500 EuroLeague games. FC Barcelona ranks second with 499 after its game against Fenerbahce tonight, followed by Olympiacos Piraeus (492) and Baskonia (491). CSKA registered its 384th win, which also leads the all-time standings.
Both teams returning to EuroLeague action early next week, on Tuesday, November 17. CSKA visits archrivals Zalgiris Kaunas and Baskonia welcomes Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul to Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Thursday, November 12, 2020