De Colo, CSKA are alone in first after downing Maccabi
CSKA Moscow seized sole possession of first place with both hands on Friday by beating Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 101-86 at Megasport Arena in the Russian capital. CSKA is the first Turkish Airlines EuroLeague team to reach double-digit victories, at 10-2, and is alone at the top for the second time this season. Maccabi fell to 7-5 in a pack of teams below the leaders. A 28-14 second-quarter blast in which Sergio Rodriguez and Nando De Colo had an assist-making contest between them sent CSKA up 15 points at the break. Maccabi reeled it back to single digits early in the fourth quarter, and down to 90-84 going into the last minute, but De Colo's mid-range jumper with 35 seconds left made sure of CSKA's victory. De Colo paced the winners with 26 points and 6 assists. Sergio Rodriguez followed with a double-double of 15 points and 11 assists. Cory Higgins added 17 points, Kyle Hines and Semen Antonov 14 each to the CSKA cause. Maccabi's Norris Cole had 24 points, 7 assists and 4 steals, while DeShaun Thomas added 14 points, Jake Cohen 12 and Deandre Kane 10 for the visitors.
Thomas inside and Higgins from deep got their teams on the board first. Teenager Yovel Zoosman's first-ever EuroLeague points came on a layup before Jonah Bolden put Maccabi ahead from deep. A Hines layup and an exchange of free throws left a tie that De Colo broke at 11-9 with a back-door basket. Kane combined free throws with a steal and basket that Hines answered with a finger roll and De Colo with a jumper and a put-back scoop shot at 17-13. Alex Tyus and Cole kept Maccabi close until Cohen and De Colo traded free throws for a 21-20 score after 10 minutes. Cohen's inside basket was answered from downtown by both Rodriguez and De Colo, making it 27-22. Free throws by Rodriguez and Will Clyburn boosted the lead until De Colo's next shot, on a great assist by Rodriguez, sent the difference into double digits. De Colo assisted Pavel Korobkov before Rodriguez set up the first of a pair of baskets by Higgins as CSKA ran away to 40-27. Higgins was back with a three-pointer and soon a string of perfect free throws had CSKA up 49-34 at the break.
Antonov and Kane traded buckets before Higgins from inside and Clyburn from downtown upped the difference to 56-38. Cole tried to help the visitors with 5 points and an assist on Kane's back-door dunk. But Maccabi left Antonov open for back-to-back corner threes and the highest lead yet, 61-42. Thomas and Zoosman, on a great pass from Cole, got the visitors closer and Tyus finished a break at 65-50. Hines with free throws did the honors for the first 20-point lead, 70-50. Thomas answered from deep, then both Cole and Jackson stole and scored. But another steal was taken back by Nikita Kurbanov who dunked on the third-quarter buzzer to make it 72-57. Thomas, Cole with his fourth steal in a few minutes, and Cohen opened the fourth quarter by lowering the difference to single digits, 72-63. Rodriguez's three-pointer was answered by Cole, but De Colo struck next from the arc at 78-65. Jackson stepped up with a triple for Maccabi, but Kurbanov did the same. Cole fed Cohen twice and Bolden did the same for Kane to suddenly make it a seven-point difference, 81-74, as close as Maccabi had been in more than 20 minutes. Rodriguez stepped out of a CSKA timeout and hammered a triple, then Antonov did the same to make it 87-74 with 3:20 left. Cole rifled in another three, but Hines answered with a jump-hook. Bolden and Cole hit 5 of 6 free throws to make it 90-84 going into the final minute, but De Colo's jumper with 35 second left and 3 free throws after that were more than enough to leave CSKA alone in first place.
Friday, December 15, 2017