CSKA impresses in Milan without Teodosic, De Colo
Defending champion CSKA Moscow put on an offensive clinic in the third quarter and made a series of defensive stops in the second half, racing away to a 64-79 road win against EA7 Emporio Armani Milan on Thursday night at the Mediolanum Forum despite missing its top two scorers. Milan led 38-36 at halftime, but CSKA scored 30 points in the third quarter and allowed only 10 points in the fourth en route to a win that improved its record to 10-1 atop the standings, while Milan dropped to 4-7. CSKA played without its top two scorers, last season’s EuroLeague MVP Nando De Colo and All-EuroLeague playmaker and this season’s assist leader Milos Teodosic. And after some struggles in the first half, the visitors dominated in the second behind Dmitry Kulagin who scored a career-high 14 points, and Aaron Jackson who had 14 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Cory Higgins netted 11 for CSKA, which hit 12 three-pointers while holding Milan to only 4-for-21 from long range. For the hosts, Miroslav Raduljica finished with 11 points and Ricky Hickman and Jamel McLean each scored 10 for Milan.
With Joel Freeland in lineup for the first time this season, Vitaly Fridzon and Jackson scored for CSKA early, and Victor Khryapa made a pair of defensive plays that helped CSKA to a 10-14 edge. But Rakim Sanders sparked Milan's run of 7 unanswered points to put the hosts up, and Hickman's three-point play helped the hosts to a 23-21 lead after 10 minutes. The hosts went up by 6, but Higgins, who hit one three-pointer late in the first quarter, hit two more in the second to tie things at 27-27. Before halftime, Hickman on one end and Dmitry Kulagin on the other had 5 points apiece, each with a three-pointer, before Jamel McLean’s steal and a big breakaway slam helped Milan lead 38-36 at halftime. After the break,
however, CSKA came out on fire on offense. James Augustine started it off with a pair of baskets inside, before Semen Antonov hit 2 threes and assisted on a Nikita Kurbanov corner three-pointer. Dmitry Kulagin, Kyle Hines and Higgins all contributed in a 2-14 run that put CSKA up 46-57. Mantas Kalnietis and Dmitry Kulagin traded threes as the visitors held a 54-66 lead going into the fourth quarter. Jackson hit a pair of wide-open corner threes to extend the difference to 17 points early in the fourth and then dished a flashy bounce pass for a Hines dunk and a 55-74 advantage with eight minutes to go in the game. A Hines basket in heavy traffic broke the 20-point margin midway through the fourth. Milan turned to a zone defense that held CSKA scoreless for a stretch in the final minutes, but it was too little, too late for the hosts.
Thursday, December 8, 2016