CSKA Moscow booked its spot among the eight best teams in the competition on Wednesday by beating Fenerbahce Ulker 77-60. An 11-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters allowed the champs to pull away for good and improve to 4-1 in Top 16 Group H. CSKA will now focus its eyes on Thursday’s game in Siena, Italy, where Montepaschi hosts Cibona Zagreb. If the Italian champs win that encounter, CSKA will have home-court advantage in the upcoming best-of-five Quarterfinal Playoffs. Erazem Lorbek stoked CSKA to an early 25-10 lead with 11 first-period points, but Mirsad Turkcan helped FB Ulker back early in the second as the visitors closed the gap to 38-35 at halftime. A Marques Green triple tied the game at 40-40 and the visitors stayed close until CSKA’s 11-0 charge took it out of reach. The Turkish champs never quit, but no one could match the energy Viktor Khryapa brought off the bench in the fourth period as CSKA wrapped up the win. Lorbek paced the champs with 18 points, Matjaz Smodis added 14 and Ramunas Siskauskas, JR Holden and Khryapa contributed 9 points apiece. Gordan Giricek led FB Ulker with 15 points, Turkcan posted his 47th career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Green scored 12 and Emir Preldzic dished 7 assists in defeat.
The visitors won the opening tip, but it was CSKA that struck first when Lorbek hit from downtown. Giricek knocked down a jumper and Green hit a three, but Siskauskas tied the score on the offensive glass. Lorbek then scored three the hard way and Holden took advantage of an open look to make it 13-7. Rasim Basak’s triple didn’t change much as Holden fed Lorbek for another triple to stretch the lead to 19-10. Fenerbahce Ulker head coach Bogdan Tanjevic called a timeout and came back with a big lineup, swapping Preldzic for Green. The move helped Fener on defense, but the visitors still struggled to score. Smodis made it a double-digit lead from the line and Lorbek reached double figures for himself in just eight minutes on the floor when he scored in the paint. Holden capped a 12-0 charge that made it 25-10 before Damir Kaan Mrsic made a three for Fenerbahce. Siskauskas free throws made it 27-13 after 10 minutes.
Both defenses stepped up early in the second period with neither scoring a field goal for three minutes. A nifty behind-his-head pass from Preldzic to Turkcan broke the ice and Turkcan followed with a triple as Fenerbahce found its legs. Green drilled a triple to cap a 0-9 run that drew the visitors within 5. Siskauskas fed Lorbek for a basket inside to end the CSKA drought and soon Zoran Planinic drove through the FB Ulker defense. Oguz Savas stepped up with a hook shot and then a triple to narrow the gap to 4 and a Giricek bomb made it 34-32. Terence Morris scored on the offensive glass, but Preldzic fired a pass to Giricek, who made it a 1-point game. A Holden jumper boosted CSKA to 38-35 as Green’s three-point attempt to tie it at the buzzer fell short.
Lorbek opened the third period the way he played the first two: hitting a mid-range jumper to get the champs going. However Turkcan matched him from outside. Green drilled a triple to knot the score at 40-40 three minutes into the second half. Smodis responded with a three of his own, but Fener was now playing with renewed confidence. Trajan Langdon hit a tough jumper for his first points as the CSKA defense stepped up to deny the visitors. Smodis added 2 from the line before Giricek went backdoor to make it 47-42. Holden pulled up for a jumper, but Serhat Cetin’s triple kept Fener alive. A pair of Savas layups kept the visitors within 3, but Planinic drove the lane for a basket-plus-foul that gave CSKA a 55-49 lead with one period to play.
Morris’s three-pointer early in the fourth-quarterhelped CSKA pull away further and Khryapa made it a double-digit lead from the line. Khryapa then finished a fast break with a two-handed jam as Fener called timeout hoping it wasn’t yet too late. Planinic capped an 11-0 run with layup that made it 63-49. Free throws by Giricek and Turkcan revived FB Ulker’s hopes, but Morris stepped up with a block at one end and an assist to Smodis at the other to settle the home fans. The CSKA captain soon knocked down a three-pointer as CSKA matched its biggest lead of the game, 68-53. After Turkcan scored on the offensive glass, Khryapa put his seal on the game with a two-handed jam that signaled the end as CSKA celebrated another trip to the Quarterfinal Playoffs.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009