CSKA put a firm grip on first place in Group E of the Top 16 when it turned back visiting Scavolini Pesaro 88-68 at home in Moscow on Wednesday. CSKA, unbeaten now through 16 Euroleague games and 39 overall including Russian competitions, improved to 2-0 in Group E. Scavolini dropped to 0-2, but has the comfort of having three home games to play still in Pesaro. Marcus Brown led the winners with 20 points, drilling a triple in the final seconds of each of the opening three quarters to demoralize Scavolini. Demos Dikoudis added 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting, Theo Papaloukas had 11 while David Andersen posted a double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds, for the winners. CSKA's defense held Euroleague top scorer Charles Smith of Scavolini to 10 points. Hanno Mottola led Scavolini with 17 points, Scoonie Penn had 12, and Robert Archibald grabbed 12 rebounds for the guests. Andersen and Brown helped CSKA to break the game open before halftime with double-digit leads that were safe until the final buzzer.
Mottola got Scavolini rolling with a long two-pointer from the right wing after the tipoff. Soon, Smith and Penn were dropping triples to give the guests a solid start, 4-8. It was back and forth from there, but CSKA managed to put Scavolini in foul trouble early, with Andersen drawing Archibald's third in less than 5 minutes, then hitting both free throws for a 12-10 home lead. Shooters on both teams went cold then, but Marko Milic and Antonio Granger kept their teams afloat until Andersen put CSKA ahead 20-17 with a layup. Mottola got a point back at the foul line, but on the quarter's final possession, Brown drilled a three-pointer from the corner to give CSKA the momentum and a 25-19 advantage after 10 minutes.
The second quarter was all CSKA as Andersen got the hosts going with 4 quick points. Scavolini's shooting cooled and its turnovers mounted. J.R. Holden soon drilled a triple and Papaloukas provided his usual spark off CSKA's bench as Granger assisted him for a 34-21 lead. Mottolla managed to stem the CSKA tide momentarily, hitting 1 of 2 from the foul line and draining a three-pointer after his teammates rebounded the free throw miss. That brought the guests to within within 10 points, 38-28, with 4:39 remaining in the half. But CSKA continued to roll as Papaloukas reeled off 5 unanwsered points to which Granger added a layup and Aleksey Savrasenko a free throw for an 8-0 run and a 46-28 advantage. After Alessandro Frosini got Scavolini within 48-32 at the foul line, Brown took an offensive rebound on the half's final possession, stepped back to the arc and drilled a three-pointer that made the score 51-34 at the break.
Scavolini cut the deficit after halftime thanks to a jumper from Mottolla and a layup by Smith. CSKA was cold until Brown hit a driving layup to push the lead back up to 15 points, 53-38. After Archibald tipped in a miss, CSKA called timeout, but Mottola continued to keep Scavolini's resurgence going with a triple from the top that made it 54-43 midway through the quarter. Ultimately, CSKA managed to regain its spark behind Papaloukas. He stole a Scavolini inbounds pass and fed Brown then assisted Granger on a fastbreak basket that reestablished a 15-point edge, 58-43. The teams went back and forth offensively from there, but with 4.7 seconds to play in the quarter, Brown was at it again, kissing a triple off the glass from the right wing, drawing the foul and sinking the free throw for a four-point play. Matteo Malaventura responded with a three-pointer on the buzzer, but CSKA still led 71-56 after 30 minutes.
CSKA showed no signs of letting up in the fourth quarter. Reserve guard Zakhar Pashutin pushed the lead to 73-56 with a driving layup and it was several minutes before Scavolini could get the lead below 15 points, at 75-61, on a free throw by Penn. That, however, was the closest the visitors would get the rest of the way. When Dikoudis slammed home an offensive rebound with 56 seconds left, the Moscow crowd thought it seen all it wanted, until youngster Vasily Zavoruev came in for a breakaway layup with 30 second left to cement the final score. CSKA's streak was still alive and it had coasted to its first home win of the Top 16.
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
Carl Schreck, Moscow