2018-19Regular SeasonRound 27
March 19, 2019 CET: 18:00
Local time: 20:00 SINAN ERDEM SPORTS HALL.

Heroics by Higgins lift CSKA at Efes

In an intense showdown that went down to the final seconds, CSKA Moscow bounced back from a tough home loss by downing Anadolu Efes Istanbul 78-80 on the road before 14,000 fans at Sinan Erdem Dome on Tuesday. CSKA improved to 21-6 to remain second in the regular season standings, while Efes dropped to 17-10. The win assured CSKA a third-place finish or better at the end of this phase. Cory Higgins led CSKA with 19 points, including the game-winning layup with 1.9 seconds left. Kyle Hines added 15 points on 7-of-7 two-point shooting while Will Clyburn scored 10 for CSKA. Bryant Dunston led Efes with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Krunoslav Simon added 13 points while Shane Larkin had 11 for the hosts, who led 20-15 after 10 minutes and kept a 30-27 margin midway through the second quarter. An 1-13 run gave CSKA a 31-40 advantage near halftime. The guests did not trail after that, but free throws by Simon tied the game with 5.6 seconds left, before Higgins had the final word on a strong driving basket to finish the drama.

Efes found its big men early, as Adrien Moerman and Dunston filled 7-0 opening run that forced a CSKA timeout. Sergio Rodriguez and Higgins rescued the guests with back-to-back jumpers and Othello Hunter added a jump hook. Simon and an unstoppable Moerman restored an 11-6 Efes margin before Rodriguez had a three-point play that Simon matched with a bomb from downtown. Joel Bolomboy and Nikita Kurbanov found their first points in a 0-6 run that Hines capped with a layup for a 14-15 CSKA edge. Efes continued scoring in the paint, however, as Dunston and Brock Motum gave the hosts a 20-15 edge after 10 minutes. Higgins and Ivan Ukhov each downed a jumper early in the second quarter and Hines added a couple of layups. Dunston singlehandedly kept Efes ahead, though, at 25-23. Rodrigue Beaubois struck from beyond the arc and Dunston dunked again but CSKA raised its aggresiveness as Clyburn, Alec Peter and Hines combined for 12 points in an 1-13 run that put the guests fully in charge, 31-40. A layup by Dunston and a put-back slam by Tibor Pleiss fixed the halftime score at 35-40. Motum scored down low soon after the break before a three-pointer by Simon got Efes within 40-42. Bolomboy dunked and had a huge block on Pleiss, and got help from Hines and Higgins to make it a double-digit game, 43-51. Vasilije Micic and James Anderson each struck from downtown and Dunston dunked again to bring Efes a bit closer, 48-53. CSKA found a go-to guy in Higgins, who downed a jumper and fed Nando De Colo for a fastbreak layup, although three-pointers by Anderson and Shane Larkin kept Efes within 58-61, after 30 minutes. Ukhov and Anderson traded baskets early in the fourth quarter, setting up a three-pointer by Larkin that tied it at 63-63. Clyburn and De Colo fueled a 0-9 run highlighted by Peters' three-pointer, good for a 63-72 CSKA lead. Motum and Larkin hit a triple apiece, then a put-back layup by Motum brought Efes within 71-74 with 4 minutes left. Micic and Higgins exchanged baskets, setting the stage for Simon's three-pointer to forge another tie, 76-76. with 59.1 seconds left. Higgins swished a jumper and CSKA fouled Simon, who made both attempts at 78-78 with 5.6 seconds left. After a timeout, Higgins inbounded and got the ball back to drive strong to the basket and down the go-ahead layup with 1.9 seconds left. Efes could not get a shot up in the game's final possession, sending the win back to Moscow.

Pivotal performer

Even when Higgins made the difference with his game-winning shot, Hines was a solid threat in the paint all game long. He finished the game with 15 points, tying his season high, on 7-of-7 two-point shooting. He added 3 rebounds, an assist, a steal, 3 blocks and 3 fouls drawn for a PIR of 21, which also matched his season high.

Game-changing moment

Higgins made the difference in the final minute. First, he beat the shot clock buzzer with a catch-and-shoot jumper that put CSKA in charge, 76-78. When Efes tied the game, Higgins received a hand-off pass and had the determination to drive to the basket and score. His clutch efforts gave CSKA a tough road win.

Stellar stat

CSKA was solid in all the hustle stats, finishing the game with 11 offensive rebounds, 6 steals and 7 blocks. The block total tied its season high against Olympiacos Piraeus earlier this month. CSKA also hit an impressive 31 of 44 two-point shots (70.5%) while limiting Efes to just 18 of 37 inside the arc (48.6%).

Did you notice?

A moment of silence was kept to honor long-time Panathinaikos Athens president Thanasis Giannakopoulos, who died on Tuesday at the age of 88. Thanasis Giannakopoulos was the Panathinaikos president from 2002 to 2012 and took the club to the European elite level along with his brother Pavlos, who passed away in 2018. .

Next game

Both teams are right back at it in 48 hours for Round 28 showdowns on Thursday. CSKA hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in a rematch of the 2016 championship game. Efes visits Buducnost VOLI Podgorica for the club's first official game on Montenegrin soil since 1999.

Cory Higgins - CSKA Moscow - EB18
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Attendance: 14258
By Quarter1234
Anadolu Efes Istanbul20152320
CSKA Moscow15252119
End of Quarter1234
Anadolu Efes Istanbul20355878
CSKA Moscow15406180
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 LARKIN, SHANE 21:17 11 1/3 3/7     1 1 2   2 1 1 2 4 8
1 BEAUBOIS, RODRIGUE 20:39 3 0/1 1/3         3       1 3 1  
4 BALBAY, DOGUS 10:08           2 2 3         1 1 5
12 MOTUM, BROCK 17:10 9 3/7 1/1   2   2 2   2   2     5
15 SANLI, SERTAC DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 MOERMAN, ADRIEN 15:02 7 2/6 1/3   1   1           1   1
19 TUNCER, BUGRAHAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 PLEISS, TIBOR 6:50 2 1/3     1   1   1 1   1 2 1 -1
22 MICIC, VASILIJE 26:22 6 1/2 1/7 1/2   3 3 4   3   1 3 6 4
23 ANDERSON, JAMES 17:51 8 1/2 2/3   1 2 3 1         3 1 8
42 DUNSTON, BRYANT 36:46 19 8/10   3/3 5 4 9 2 1 4 1   3 2 25
44 SIMON, KRUNOSLAV 27:55 13 1/3 3/6 2/2 3 4 7 1 1 1   1 2 1 14
Team           2 1 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 78 18/37 12/30 6/7 15 17 32 18 3 14 2 7 20 17 71
        48.6% 40% 85.7%
Head coach: ATAMAN, ERGIN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 DE COLO, NANDO 22:54 5 1/2 0/2 3/3 1 1 2 5   4   1 1 3 6
3 BOLOMBOY, JOEL 17:57 4 2/2 0/2   1 3 4 1 1   2     1 11
5 PETERS, ALEC 15:17 8 2/2 1/2 1/1 1 2 3 1 1       3 2 11
7 UKHOV, IVAN 11:12 4 2/2       1 1 2         2   5
11 ANTONOV, SEMEN 0:07                         1   -1
13 RODRIGUEZ, SERGIO 16:38 7 3/4 0/3 1/1 1   1 4   1     2 2 7
20 VORONTSEVICH, ANDREY 0:04                              
21 CLYBURN, WILL 25:06 10 3/8 0/2 4/4 2 6 8   2 2   1 1 4 13
22 HIGGINS, CORY 29:27 19 7/9 1/3 2/2 1   1 5   1     2 4 22
41 KURBANOV, NIKITA 21:22 4 2/5 0/1   1 4 5     2 1   1 1 4
42 HINES, KYLE 26:07 15 7/7   1/2   3 3 1 1 1 3   3 3 21
44 HUNTER, OTHELLO 13:49 4 2/3       2 2   1 1 1   1   5
Team           3   3     1         2
Totals 200:00 80 31/44 2/15 12/13 11 22 33 19 6 13 7 2 17 20 106
        70.5% 13.3% 92.3%

Head Coaches

Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"We started the game very well, but especially after Adrien Moerman got injured, we had a lot of problems. We didn't find a good five to play, especially we didn't have a contribution from Motum in the first half; he didn't give us in the first half. We tried to play with two bigs, but it is not our real system strategy. We put Shane [Larkin] on the court; he also missed the first half, he didn't give his real performance in the first half. We missed the second quarter; this is the key of the game for us. After that, in the second half, we tried everything and played perfect. Finally, we found James Anderson in the power forward position and found two three-point shots when they closed inside. We came back to the game and Shane gave us his real performance in the second half, but the last two baskets that CSKA made were two last-second shots. With the game tied and 2 seconds on the shot clock, they found Higgins to score in the inbound play and then also, in the last possesion, one more time they found a penetration from Higgins, in a defensive one-on-one mistake. We lost the game, but one more time, we showed we are a great team and fight until the end to win this EuroLeague."
CSKA Moscow
"First of all, I have to congratulate my players. I didn't know that Efes had a seven-game home winning streak [before this loss], but Efes deserves credit because the game could have gone in a different way, although in most of the clutch moments, we were leading and handling well most the game. But they have quality and hit some big shots, and managed to come back to the game. The last play is not always the only important play, it is what happened from the [first] second until the 40th minute. Everybody is important because we have shooters, drivers, and they have to respect them. Cory [Higgins] was in a clutch moment, but he was not the first option. We had four options on that play. We chose the last one with a hand-off and Cory had a big bucket over there. But as I said, it was important for us, as a team, to bounce back from a bad performance we had, not meeting our standards against Panathinaikos, and losing in the last second from a buzzer-beater. And we found a player like Ivan Ukhov from deep on the bench who gave us a lot. So yes, it is important, we see the stats, we see the players that they really contribute a lot, but Ivan gave us a big thing off the bench, so congratulations to my team. The win is always good, for sure, but a double week is a double week. You always have to play tough, this is a typical EuroLeague game and, like we said, every game is a final. A lot of credit to Efes, and regarding Fenerbahce, they are leading the league and that says a lot. They are constantly playing good basketball and have a lot of quality players and a well-coached team. It is another tough game for us."


CSKA Moscow
"It feels great. We really needed this win, especially after last week, when we had a poor performance. We needed a bounce-back win and it is a big one for us. It is a good start to two big games this week. Everybody has confidence in each other, so whoever was going to take that shot, the rest of the team was going to have ultimate confidence on him. It just happened to be me today."
CSKA Moscow
"It is a great win, an amazing win for our team against a high-caliber team like Efes, a playoff team. It came down to the end but we had enough to get it done, so that is for the most part what it is all about. Cory [Higgins] is a big-time player. He has been making big plays all season and continued to make plays today. He stepped up big after we had this heartbreaking loss against Panathinaikos last week, to reverse those actions down the stretch is big for us."
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