| CSKA Moscow held on a strong Maccabi Electra charge to record a 77-72 victory on Thursday in the Russian capital. Sasha Kaun scored a career-high 21 points and Ramunas Siskauskas drained 4 clutch free throws in the final minute to lead CSKA to its fifth straight win and a share of the Group A lead at 6-2. The Russian champs visit Union Olimpija in their next game after the winter break before a showdown with group co-leader Caja Laboral in Week 10. Maccabi slipped to 5-3 and third place in the group, though it retains the potential head-to-head tiebreaker against CSKA. Maccabi hosts Lottomatica Roma in Week 9. Trajan Langdon shined early with 3 three-pointers in an 11-0 run as the hosts went ahead 28-11 after 10 minutes. The lead reached 21 in the second quarter, but Maccabi fought back with 15 unanswered points bridging the second and third quarters. The Israeli champs managed to tie the score four times in the closing minutes, the last at 72-72, but came up short on the key plays at the end. Langdon, Zoran Planinic and Siskauskas scored 13 points apiece for the winners, while Viktor Khryapa dished a career-high 8 assists – all in the first half. Chuck Eidson scored 17 to lead Maccabi, which was undone by its 20 turnovers. Andrew Wisniewski added 16 points and 9 rebounds and D’Or Fischer added 10 points in defeat.
Langdon opened the scoring with a foul-line jumper before Fischer sank a long jumper for the visitors. Khryapa fed Kaun for a slam in transition and then the big man muscled his way through a double team as CSKA grabbed the early lead. Eidson sank a mid-range jumper, but a Langdon sandwiched a pair of threes around a Khryapa bucket to build a commanding 14-4 lead. Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon shook things up by pulling his starting backcourt of Wisniewski and Guy Pnini for Doron Perkins and Alan Anderson, hoping to find someone to stop Langdon, but it did not work as Langdon sank his third three of the night to cap an 11-0 run. Eidson answered from downtown for Maccabi, only for Khryapa to lob Planinic to keep the hosts cruising. J.R. Holden came off the bench and drilled a three and Khryapa found Kaun for another slam as the CSKA lead reached 15. Maciej Lampe scored for the visitors, but Maccabi could not gain any momentum. Holden ended the quarter with a long jumper to make it 28-11.
CSKA continued to pad the lead as Khryapa fed Kaun underneath for another dunk and an 18-point lead. Wisniewski countered with a three-pointer. Andrey Vorontsevich came off the bench and made a hook shot for a 34-15 lead. Planinic assisted Siskauskas for a fast-break layup as the CSKA lead moved past 20. Anderson and Wisniewski scored from the line, but a long Planinic jumper made it 40-19. Maccabi showed signs of life when David Bluthenthal drilled a three and Anderson fed Stephane Lasme for a slam to get within 15. After Kaun sank 2 free throws, Eidson drained a triple and Wisniewski got to the line to trim the deficit to a 13. Anderson ended the half with a follow on a Pnini miss to make it 45-34.
Fischer buried an open jumper a minute into the second half to push the deficit below 10 for the first time sine the first quarter. Planinic missed 2 free throws and Wisniewski darted upcourt where he drilled a jumper. CSKA head coach Evgeny Pashutin called a prompt timeout to try and ignite his charges before Maccabi grabbed the momentum. But a 24-second violation on CSKA and a fade-away jumper by Eidson brought the visitors within 45-40. Anderson scored a basket-plus-foul on the break to complete a 0-15 Maccabi charge. Khryapa sank a pair of free throws nearly three minutes into the third quarter to end the drought, but Eidson got a roll as his jumper fell. Khryapa and Langdon both netted free throws to increase the CSKA cushion to 6. Pnini responded from downtown and on the next play drew a foul while shooting a three, sank 2 free throws and made it a 2-point game. Planinic buried a three over Perkins, but Kaun missed twice from the line in trying to grow the lead more. Perkins made a free throw and set Bluthenthal up for 2 more to make it 55-53. Free throws by Siskauskas and Planinic put the hosts up 5. Wisniewski muscled his way through the CSKA defense to bring Maccabi to 58-56 with 10 minutes to go.
Planinic opened the fourth quarter with a clutch three-pointer before Eidson pulled up for a mid-range jumper. Holden sank a long jumper and Kaun added a free throw to put CSKA up by 6. Khryapa fouled Fischer who was attempting a slam. He argued the call and received a technical, which was his fifth foul and ended his night. Fischer sank all 4 free throws Eidson banked a shot on the resulting possession and tied the game at 66-66. Siskauskas sank a pair of free throws to restore a slim CSKA edge. Anderson silenced the crowd with pass to Fischer for an alley-oop slam to retie the score. Kaun made it 70-68 from the line with just under three minutes to play, but Wisniewski matched him at the other end. Kaun scored down low and Eidson missed a jumper. But Planinic missed at the other end and Wisniewski went to the line and tied it at 72-72. Bluthenthal send Kaun back to the line with 1:09 remaining and the center made just 1. But a bad pass by Wisniewski took away Maccabi’s chance to take the lead. Siskauskas made it a 3-point game with 2 free throws and 35 seconds remaining and Gershon called for a timeout to draw up a play. But Bluthenthal missed from close range and CSKA managed to kill the clock, with Siskauskas sealing the win with 2 final free throws.
Thursday, December 17, 2009