CSKA Moscow confirmed its power in its Top 16 opener in Group E by thrashing Winterthur FC Barcelona 70-91 on the road in Barcelona, Spain on Thursday. CSKA is now the Group E leader with a 1-0 record with 3 games left to play at home in Moscow, while Barcelona dropped to 0-1 and might need its own road win to challenge for the quarterfinal playoffs. David Andersen was the man of the game with 25 points on 10-for-11 shooting and 11 rebounds for CSKA. Marcus Brown added 12 points and 9 assists, while Theodoros Papaloukas and Martin Muursepp each added 11 for the winners. CSKA broke open a close game after halftime, winning the third quarter 12-28. Vlado Ilievski had 21 points for Winterthur FCB, Juan Carlos Navarro 13 and Devin Davis 10. CSKA limited Dejan Bodiroga to 3 points, his lowest scoring total in 76 Euroleague games.
CSKA started the game at full speed to lead 0-4 as Andersen scored near the basket and Antonio Granger from mid-range. New Barcelona power forward Andrija Zizic tried to change things with a short jumper, but J.R. Holden fired in a three off the dribble and Andersen an uncontested layup for a 2-9 CSKA edge. Barcelona finally woke up, as Rodrigo De La Fuente and Ilievski scored in penetration to bring the hosts within 6-10, but it wasn't enough. Demos Dikoudis worked in the low post for a basket and Granger added a fallaway jumper to force a Barcelona timeout at 6-14. CSKA continued looking for Andersen and Dikoudis, who each had 7 as the lead rose to 11-21. Ilievski drilled a corner three-pointer, the only basket in the final 2 minutes of a first quarter that ended 14-21 in CSKA's favor.
Navarro opened the second quarter with a long two-pointer and De La Fuente added free throws to get Barcelona back into the game at 18-21. The hosts now used a small lineup with Bodiroga at power forward and Davis at center to control the game's tempo. Davis hustled for a third-chance basket to make it a one-point game, 22-23, as Papaloukas and Muursepp stepped on court for the visitors. Both helped CSKA, Muursepp firing a corner triple, Papaloukas feeding Aleksey Savrasenko twice for a 26-30 CSKA lead. Navarro stepped up with a huge layup in penetration and added a short jumper to keep the hosts into the game. Even after Sergei Monya dunked for CSKA, a close basket by Davis and Ilievski's third triple tied it 35-35. Free throws by Papaloukas and a running layup by Roger Grimau left the teams knotted, 37-37, at the break.
Andersen drilled a turnaround jumper to start the third quarter, but Gregor Fucka matched that with a running layup. Soon, however, a layup by Granger ignited a 0-9 CSKA run. Brown fired in a three-pointer while Holden scored and fed Andersen for a two-handed slam to put CSKA back in charge, 39-48. Barcelona went scoreless for 3 minutes until Zizic found an inside basket, but an outstanding Andersen followed a mid-trange jumper with free throws to restore a double-digit lead, 42-52. Barcelona only managed to exchange baskets for a while, as the hosts entered the foul bonus too early and CSKA took avdantage. Brown followed free throws with a three-point play to give the guests a 46-59 margin. Bodiroga scored his first point in the 28th minute, but he and Navarro also were called for technical fouls, allowing Brown to extend CSKA's lead to 49-65 after 30 minutes.
Barcelona needed a quick comeback to get into the game and Navarro tried to provide one with a big three-pointer. But Holden immediately matched it on the other end to silence the crowd. The hosts could not find a way to the basket, while Andersen - who else? - stepped up with an incredible three-point play and Monya added a triple to seal the outcome, 54-77, with less than 7 minutes to go. It was now a question of pride for Barcelona, as Ilievski and Fucka fueled a 0-8 run to bring the hosts within 64-81. It didn't last long, as Papaloukas followed an alley-oop layup with a three-pointer, enough for CSKA to confirm itself as a top contender to make the FInal Four in Moscow in May.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
J.A. Casanova, Barcelona