CSKA Moscow bested KK Zagreb 87-74
CSKA Moscow remained undefeated through eight games after downing visiting KK Zagreb 87-74 in the Russian capital on Wednesday, but the game was a lot closer than the final score would indicate. Zagreb rallied from a double-digit third quarter deficit to take a brief lead late in that quarter and CSKA only led 60-58 through 30 minutes after a Ramunas Siskauskas triple. Zagreb toed it early in the fourth and was still within 5 within six minutes to play, but Nenad Krstic played his best down the stretch and helped CSKA pull away for the win. Jamont Gordon paced the Russian champs with a season-high 18 points, Krstic posted 14 points and 9 rebounds, Sammy Mejia scored 13, Siskauskas 11 and Andrey Vorontsevich netted 10. Krunoslav Simon paced Zagreb with 21 points and 5 assists, Josh Heytvelt scored 19 and Sean May 13. Zagreb dropped to 2-6 in Group B with the loss. Before the game, Injured forward Andrei Kirilenko and Krstic were awarded their respective October and November bwin MVP trophies.
Zagreb stunned CSKA early with back-to-back triple by Simon before Milos Teodosic got the hosts going. But a red-hot Simon made it 5-10 as the local fans sat silenced. Petar Babic extended the lead to 6 before Gordon scored and Viktor Khryapa set up Krstic for an easy two, but May matched them at the other end. Papa Dia and Siskauskas traded scorers before Saso Ozbolt drilled a deep two. After Vorontsevich attacked the basket, May struck back from the corner. And Ante Masic nailed a three to extend the lead to 7 before a Gordon jumper set the score at 18-23 after 10 minutes.
Vorontsevich scored at the basket and then from the baseline before Gordon pulled up for a baseline jumper to close the gap to 24-25. Simon Krunoslav hit back for the visitors, but Mejia stepped up with a layup and then a steal and pass to Vorontsevich for a slam and a 28-27 CKSA advantage. Simon remained Zagreb’s go-to guy and came through once more, but a Gordon triple, Mejia basket in the paint and Vorontsevich hook shot showed CSKA the way.
Babic hit back from behind the arc, but CSKA remained in control as Khryapa weaved his way to the basket and Anton Ponkrashov scored from the line. Josh Heytvelt scored his first points for Zagreb, but a Dmitry Sokolov tip-in at the halftime buzzer gave CSKA its biggest lead of the half, 43-34.
Sokolov opened the second half with a free throw to make it a double-digit CSKA advantage. After a steal and two-handed slam for Gordon, CSKA forced Zagreb into a 24-second turnover. Heytvelt soon responded from downtown and Simon got to the basket for a three-point play to make it 48-40. A few turnovers and missed jumpers slowed the pace. Mejia got things going with a drive and finger roll, However Heytvelt nailed threes on back-to-back possession at the other end. Still CSKA stayed ahead as Sisakuskas hit from behind the arc and Mejia from just on front of it. Heytvelt sank a long two, rejected Darjus Lavrinovic and then drew a foul shooting from behind the arc and sank 3 free throws to close the gap to 55-51. Simon drew Zagreb even closer with 2 from the line. May sank a triple that made it a 1-point game with a minute left in the third quarter. And then Damir Rancic completed the comeback with a tough jumper. CSKA managed to regain the lead at the end of the quarter when Siskauskas hit a step-back triple to make it 60-58.
May leveled the score at 60-60 as Kagreb showed it would not go away. Gordon put CSKA on top with a jumper and a pass to Siskauskas for an open three. Gordon penetrated for two more, which resulted in a 7-point lead and a Zagreb timeout. Heytvelt got to the line for 1 free throw, but Krstic worked hard in the lane for a basket. Babic sank an important triple to get within 69-64. Turnovers on both teams ensued before Krstic muscled inside for an offensive rebound, basket and foul. A Lavrinovic triple with four minutes remaining lifted the CSKA advantage to 75-64. May netted a long jumper, but a three-point play for Mejia practically iced the win.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011