| Defending Euroleague champion CSKA Moscow left no doubt about its status as a top contender to win it all again by thrashing Armani Jeans Milano 90-64 in the Russian capital in Group D on Wednesday. CSKA won the opening game in Group D and visits Panionios On Telecoms next week. AJ Milano will look for its first win at home against Efes Pilsen. Trajan Langdon led the winners with 18 points. Nikos Zisis contributed 15, J.R. Holden added 13, Erazem Lorbek got 12 while Ramunas Siskauskas had 11 for CSKA. Jobey Thomas and Pape Sow had 12 points apiece for AJ Milano while Marco Mordente and David Hawkins each added 11. Langdon and Terence Morris shined in the opening minutes to give CSKA its first double-digit lead, 17-6. Mordente tried to change things for Milano, and for within 28-19 midway through the second quarter. CSKA found a go-to guy in Viktor Khryapa, who buried consecutive triples and soon added free throws to make his team break the game open, 49-27,at the break. Holden took over after the break, as CSKA boosted its margin to 61-34 and did not have major problems to register its first win in the 2008-09 Euroleague season.
Langdon got CSKA going with an uncontested layup that Sow matched with a smooth move in the low post. Langdon insisted with a
bomb from downtown that Morris followed with a six-meter jumper for a 7-2 CSKA lead. Hawkins dunked it off a steal, but
Milano did not manage to get its frontcourt involved. CSKA was its usual self in defense, forcing a 24-second turnover.
Morris sank another jumper while Langdon buried his second triple for a 12-4 CSKA edge. Hawkins took over with a five-meter
jumper that Ramunas Siskauskas matched with a layup. Milano called timeout but kept missing open shots. Meanwhile, Lorbek shined with a driving layup for make it a double-digit game, 17-6. Milano briefly tried a 2-3 zone defense that Morris
punished with a three-pointer. Lorbek capped a 10-0 CSKA run with a jumper, but a triple by Mordente fixed the score at
22-9 after 10 minutes.
Milano tried to add more muscle inside with Mason Rocca and Mindaugas Katelynas on court. CSKA lept running its offense through Langdon, that drew a couple of fouls to sink 3-for-4 free throws. Bulleri sank a mid-range jumper while Katelynas added an off-balanced basket. Mordente struck from downtown off a CSKA timeout to get Milano within 25-16. Holden shined with a layup-plus-foul, soon sank foul shots and fed Khryapa for a corner triple to restore a 33-19 CSKA margin. Sangare hit a jumper off the dribble but Khryapa bettered it with his second three-pointer and dished an outstanding assist to Siskauskas. By the time Zisis added a fast break layup, Milano called a much-needed timeout at 40-22. An unstoppable Khryapa made free throws and Zisis added an alleyoop layup. Sow scored inside but Siskauskas nailed a corner triple and Aleksey Savrasenko made it a 25-point game, 49-24. A triple by Sangare got Milano within 49-27 at halftime.
Milano tried to speed up the game tempo after the break but CSKA stayed focused. Morris shined with a power basket that Hawkins matched with a turnaround jumper. Lorbek sank his trademark five-meter jumper while Siskauskas beat the guests' zone defense with an easy shot. Hawkins kept pacing Milano with a stop-and-pop jumper but a three-pointer by Langdon gave CSKA a 58-31 margin. Mordente took over with a wild three-pointer, as CSKA struggled a bit against a more aggressive 2-3 zone defense. Holden stepped up with one from downtown to make AJ call timeout at 61-34. Rocca tried to change things with his trademark running layup but Holden answered with another triple. Rocca and Hawkins combined for all points in a 0-7 run but a buzzer-beating jumper by Holden gave CSKA a 66-43 margin after 30 minutes.
The outcome was already clear but CSKA kept trying to please its many fans at Universal Sports Arena. Zisis sank a running jumper but Thomas followed free throws with a jumper to make the hosts call timeout at 69-47. Zisis stepped up again with free throws while Langdon added a three-pointer for a 74-51 CSKA margin with 6 minutes to go. Mordente stayed on fire while Mike Hall provided the game's biggest highlight with an acrobatic, 360 degrees layup-plus-foul. Milano kept trying but it was too little, too late for the guests, as CSKA had cruised to a well-deserved, convincing win.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008