2015-16Regular SeasonRound 10
December 18, 2015 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 MARTIN CARPENA

CSKA downs Unicaja, clinches first place

CSKA Moscow finished the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague regular season in style by downing Unicaja Malaga 76-88 on the road on Friday. CSKA was first in its group with a 9-1 record and Unicaja second at 7-3. Nando De Colo led the winners with 18 points and 7 assists. Joel Freeland and Nikita Kurbanov each had 10 points for CSKA. Edwin Jackson led Unicaja with 15 points, Will Thomas added 14, Mindaugas Kuzminskas 13 and Fran Vazquez and Nemanja Nedovic each scored 10 for the hosts. Kyle Hines shined early with a couple of three-point plays to give CSKA an 11-13 lead. Jackson, Kuzminskas and Nedovic stepped up to give Unicaja a 24-20 lead after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Nedovic soon boosted the hosts' lead to 33-24. Hines, Andrey Vorontsevich and a buzzer-beating triple by Dmitry Kulagin brought CSKA a bit closer, 46-42, at halftime. CSKA improved its defense after the break, as Vitaly Fridzon and Cory Higgins each struck twice from downtown. They got help from Freeland to give the guests a 57-65 margin after 30 minutes. Kurbanov had all of his points in the fourth quarter and a three-point play by De Colo sealed the outcome, 70-83, long before the final buzzer.

First quarter: Great offense puts Unicaja ahead

Richard Hendrix got Unicaja going with a jump hook, but a six-meter jumper by Cory Higgins and a three-point play by Kyle Hines gave CSKA a 2-5 lead. Dani Diez hit a three-pointer from the left wing, De Colo answered with a driving layup and free throws by Jackson tied it at 7-7. Jackson kept pacing Unicaja with a driving basket, which Vitaly Fridzon bettered with a bomb from downtown. Thomas ignited the crowd with a fast break slam, but Hines did even better with his second layup-plus-foul, good for an 11-13 CSKA lead. Jackson nailed a triple off a screen. Higgins answered with a driving layup, but Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Andrey Vorontsevich joined the three-point shootout for a 17-18 score. Nedovic took over with a wild driving basket, which Kuzminskas followed with a second-chance layup for a 21-18 Unicaja lead. Joel Freeland made free throws and a three-pointer by Nedovic boosted the hosts' lead to 24-20 after 10 minutes.

Second quarter: Thomas, Kuzminskas keep hosts ahead

De Colo beat the shot clock with a baseline jumper early in the quarter. Fran Vazquez picked up a loose ball and took over with a put-back slam, which he followed with free throws for a 28-22 Unicaja lead. Vazquez kept pushing the hosts with a put-back layup. Freeland banked in an off-balance shot, but a three-pointer by Nedovic boosted Unicaja's lead to 33-24. Milos Teodosic shined with a driving layup, which Nedovic followed with a wild step-back jumper. De Colo finished a great two-on-two play with a corner three-pointer, but Hendrix found Kuzminskas for a backdoor layup that ignited the crowd at 37-29. Hines took over with a put-back basket, which Vorontsevich followed with an off-balance layup. Kuzminskas scored on a tip-in, but Vorontsevich bettered him with a triple. Thomas hit back-to-back jumpers in the paint to give Unicaja fresh air at 43-37. Teodosic scored in penetration, but Jackson did better with a step-back three-pointer. Dimitry Kulagin answered from downtown to fix the halftime score at 46-42.

Third quarter: Three-pointers put CSKA in charge

Vazquez made free throws soon after the break. Hines split attempts and a three-pointer by Fridzon brought CSKA within 2. Unicaja kept struggling to score and an off-balance layup by Higgins tied it at 48-48. After Thomas made free throws, Teodosic hit his trademark mid-range jumper and another triple by Fridzon completed the guests's comeback at 50-53 midway through the third quarter. Thomas shined with a catch-and-shoot five-meter jumper and Jamar Smith copied him right after that to put Unicaja back ahead, 54-53. Freeland drew a couple of shooting fouls and split free throw attempts to restore a 54-55 CSKA lead. Unicaja struggled to organize its offense without Jackson and Thomas on court. Demetris Nichols stepped up with a three-pointer from the left corner and free throws by De Colo boosted CSKA's lead to 54-60. Jack Cooley and Diez hit free throws, but Nichols hit another triple from the same exact spot and Freeland gave CSKA a 57-65 lead.

Fourth quarter: Kurbanov takes over and CSKA wins

Thomas scored down low early in the quarter and a layup by Smith got the crowd involved at 61-65. De Colo stepped up with a bomb from downtown. Stefan Markovic quickly answered with a driving layup and Higgins also hit one from beyond the arc to boost his team's margin to 63-71 with six minutes left. Jackson answered from downtown off an inbound pass, but CSKA found a new go-to guy in Kurbanov. He followed free throws with a fast break slam and soon added a three-pointer, which made it a double-digit game, 68-78. Kuzminskas made free throws. Freeland scored again and a wild three-point play by De Colo sealed the outcome, 70-83, with over two minutes left. Unicaja did not give up and kept powering the boards, but by the time Kurbanov hit another triple, everything was said and done already. CSKA walked away as the Group D champion.

Friday, December 18, 2015
Attendance: 9120
By Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga24221119
CSKA Moscow20222323
End of Quarter1234
Unicaja Malaga24465776
CSKA Moscow20426588
Unicaja Malaga
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 JACKSON, EDWIN 24:28 15 2/3 3/6 2/2       5 1 1     1 3 18
4 DIAZ, ALBERTO 4:44                 1       1    
7 HENDRIX, RICHARD 21:40 2 1/3     1 3 4 1   2 1   4 1 1
9 MARKOVIC, STEFAN 23:55 2 1/2 0/2   1 2 3 4   1     3 1 3
10 THOMAS, WILL 25:13 14 5/8 0/2 4/4 2 1 3     1     2 4 13
11 DIEZ, DANIEL 12:19 5   1/2 2/2   2 2     1       1 6
12 SUAREZ, CARLOS 14:47           1 1   1 2     4   -4
15 SMITH, JAMAR 15:58 4 2/4 0/1   1   1 1 1 1     2   1
16 NEDOVIC, NEMANJA 17:21 10 2/3 2/7     3 3 1   4   1 2 1 2
17 VAZQUEZ, FRAN 12:19 10 3/6   4/4 3 2 5             2 14
19 KUZMINSKAS, MINDAUGAS 21:15 13 4/8 1/3 2/2 2 1 3         1   3 12
45 COOLEY, JACK 6:01 1     1/2 2   2     1 1   3 1  
Team           1 2 3               3
Totals 200:00 76 20/37 7/23 15/16 13 17 30 12 4 14 2 2 22 17 69
        54.1% 30.4% 93.8%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 DE COLO, NANDO 30:34 18 4/5 2/4 4/5   2 2 7   5   1 1 7 23
3 KULAGIN, DMITRY 0:34 3   1/1                       3
4 TEODOSIC, MILOS 27:28 6 3/6 0/4     3 3 5 4 2     1 1 9
7 FRIDZON, VITALY 14:53 9 0/2 3/6                   2   2
8 NICHOLS, DEMETRIS 15:08 6   2/5         1   1     3 1 1
12 KOROBKOV, PAVEL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 FREELAND, JOEL 17:04 10 2/4   6/8 2 4 6   1 3 1   2 5 14
20 VORONTSEVICH, ANDREY 24:52 8 1/2 2/3 0/1 2 1 3 2 1 1 1   2 2 11
22 HIGGINS, CORY 24:32 9 3/4 1/3     2 2 3   2   1 1 1 8
30 KULAGIN, MIKHAIL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
41 KURBANOV, NIKITA 21:59 10 1/1 2/3 2/2 2 2 4 2   1     2 1 13
42 HINES, KYLE 22:56 9 3/3   3/4 2 2 4 1 1       3 4 15
Team           3 4 7     1         6
Totals 200:00 88 17/27 13/29 15/20 11 20 31 21 7 16 2 2 17 22 105
        63% 44.8% 75%

Head Coaches

Unicaja Malaga
"We would have liked to compete until the end and win the game, but getting to the final day with a chance to be first in the group is great for us. We have to be aware of who we are and of our limits. We have not been able to adjust our defense in the third quarter. We knew CSKA was going to appear in the final two quarters. They have played very active defense. In addition, they have shot with high percentages on offense, with very good numbers in two-point and three-point shots. We lacked more capacity and toughness to face those momentsm but we are happy to be second. The Top 16 gets next - having a look at our group, what I see is that we have very long, complicated trips, but we want to compete with everyone and have to be strong at home in order to have a chance to qualify."
CSKA Moscow
"The match started badly, especially on the defensive end. We failed to spend our personal fouls wisely and were not intense. Not to take away anything from Unicaja, but our bad defense allowed them to score a lot of points in the first two quarters. We knew we had to change this and we talked at halftime in the locker room. In the second half we improved, especially the concentration. We were more successful on offense, with good outside shooting percentages. We were better in these two quarters and I think we deserved the victory. I congratulate the fans of Malaga for their continued support. And I especially congratulate my players for their work and for their efforts to victory. Now started the TOP16, begins a demanding part of the competition. Good luck to Unicaja."


Unicaja Malaga
"In the first half we did no wrong. But in the third quarter CSKA came out more focused on the floor, and with more intensity and won that part of the game. We failed to resolve in time and got a lead on the scoreboard. They had more intensity than us in those moments of the match and that was the key to the final result. Playing well is difficult to against a team like CSKA."
CSKA Moscow
"We started the match badly. The first half was not good for us, we did not get to stop their offense and our defense was not very active. At half-time we corrected these details and we went around the marker. They started the game very well, with confidence and with good percentages. The third quarter was key for us. We showed who we are and what we can do. We defended much better and they did not score with ease. Unicaja played very well but thanks to the work of the whole team, we got the win. It is always difficult to play here in Malaga because the fans are very encouraging of their team and create a great atmosphere. The three years I spent here were very important for my career, but now my mind is set on CSKA."