After its guests got lost in a Moscow snowstorm on the way to the game, delaying tipoff, CSKA added a blanket of smothering defense on its way to an 80-60 victory over Pau-Orthez on Thursday in Group C. CSKA ran its record to 5-0, while Pau, playing without three injured starters - Laurent Foirest, Frederic Fauthoux and Artur Drozdov - dropped to 1-4. J.R. Holden led four CSKA scorers in double figures with 16 points. Antonio Granger popped in 12, Martin Muursepp and Marcus Brown 11 each. It was CSKA's defense that starred, however, as only one of the guests, Davor Marcelic, was able to do any real scoring. Marcelic buried 7 of 12 three-pointers on his way to a game-high 25 points.
CSKA opened up in its vaunted man-to-man defense, but Chatman punished it with a triple to open the scoring as Pau jumped ahead 2-5. CSKA erased that quickly, however, going on a 13-0 run behind 3 straight three-pointers from Granger, Muuressepp and Holden, and two straight buckets inside by David Andersen. Pau, down 15-5, regrouped with a timeout, and soon Davor Marcelic was hitting a three-pointer from the corner to cap a 2-7 run that cut the difference to 17-12 and forced a CSKA timeout. Demos Dikoudis entered then and soon got CSKA rolling again with a driving layup that made it 19-12. Marcelic answered back with a three-pointer from the left wing, but Holden dropped his own on the next possession. In the waning seconds, Pau missed a shot, fouled and let Sergei Monya get loose in the lane for a layup, giving CSKA a 24-15 lead after 10 minutes.
Pau took advantage of a CSKA turnover to start the second quarter when Johan Petro slammed in a rebound off a missed fastbreak layup, but the guests remained cold shooting outside. Meanwhile, Monya snared a rebound and fired it the length of the quarter for a soaring one-handed dunk by Muuressep as CSKA's lead returned to double-digits, 27-17. Dikoudis soon added a three-pointer as CSKA started pulling away, 31-18. Papaloukas, a Moscow fan favorite in recent weeks, entered the game to a big ovation and immediately earned another by throwing down a two-handed fastbreak dunk. Marcus Brown followed up with triple for a 36-18 CSKA edge after 15 minutes. Marcelic continued to be the only Pau player to find his range, knocking down a three-pointer from the right corner as Pau managed to keep within striking range thanks to poor shooting from CSKA in the final minutes. But to finish the half, Monya stepped up again with offensive rebound that he put back as the buzzer sounded to preserve a 45-32 CSKA lead at the break.
CSKA played both Papaloukas and Holden starting the second half, and consecutive buckets in the paint by Granger extended the lead to 49-32. Pau started to find its touch a few minutes later, when a three-pointer by Xane D'Almeida from made it 54-39. A chance to cut it further was blown when Chatman missed a fastbreak dunk, which Holden punished with a triple from the top. A Granger free throw returned the lead 19 points, 60-41, before a pair of Pau baskets got the guests back within 60-45 after 30 minutes.
Brown's three-pointer from the right corner and driving layup on consecutive possessions gave CSKA it's first 20-point lead, 65-45, early in the final quarter. Only Marcelic of all the Pau players seemed to know how to deal with CSKA's aggressive defenders. He connected once again from long range twice in the middle of the quarter to bring Pau within 16 points, 67-51. He wasn't done, either. After a breakaway layup by Holden off a baseball pass from Brown, Marcelic drilled another triple from the left corner for a 70-54 score after 36 minutes. Pau cut that to 71-58 before Papaloukas layup and Murressepp converted drives to end all suspense. Monya brought the crowd to its feet with a flying one-handed jam at the one-minute mark, and as CSKA preserved its undefeated record in Group C, Pau prepared to depart the Russian capital under heavy snowfall.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004