CSKA became the only undefeated team in Top 16 Group F while also taking revenge for its Euroleague semifinals defeat last season when it downed visiting Tau Ceramica 82-76 in Moscow on Wednesday. While increasing its Euroleague win streak to six games, CSKA ended Tau's at seven to take over first place in Group F with a 2-0 record. Meanwhile, Tau dropped to 1-1 and ties with Lietuvos Rytas for the second spot in this group. Matjaz Smodis led the winners with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. David Vanterpool added 18 points on 6 of 6 free throws while J.R. Holden had 14 for CSKA, which outrebounded Tau 32-22. Casey Jacobsen led Tau Ceramica with 26 points, making 6 of 8 three-pointers. Kornel David had 13 points, Tiago Splitter 11 and 6 steals while Pablo Prigioni dished 10 assists for Tau, which had led 48-51 midway through the third quarter. Smodis had 7 points in a 11-0 run which put CSKA in charge for good, while Vanterpool shined in the final period to seal a crucial win.
Scola banked in a jump hook to get Tau started but Smodis answered from downtown to give CSKA its first lead, 3-2. Splitter scored twice in the paint to put Tau back in charge, 3-6. CSKA missed too many open shots in the early going, so Vanterpool slashed to draw a foul and make both free throws at 5-6. Scola scored again in the low post, igniting a 0-6 run that Jacobsen capped with a three-pointer, forcing a CSKA timeout at 5-12. Smodis tried to change things with a corner triple, but Jacobsen followed a driving layup with another shot from downtown, good for a 9-17 Tau lead. Vanterpool shined with a basket-plus-foul, but Scola took over with a two-handed dunk to keep Tau in charge, 12-19. A red-hot Jacobsen buried his third bomb from the arc while Lionel Chalmers beat the shot clock with a running jumper to give the guests a 14-26 lead after 10 minutes.
Holden tried to pace CSKA early in the second quarter, bringing CSKA within 17-26. Alexey Savrasenko scored off a backdoor pass from Smodis, while Holden was on fire. He fed Theodoros Papaloukas for a fastbreak layup and added back-to-back corner three-pointers to tie the game, 27-27, forcing a Tau timeout. Smodis capped a mamooth 15-1 run with a put-back layup to give CSKA a 29-27 lead, as Tau looked for Scola and Splitter inside to get back on track. Prigioni found Scola for a tough layup and then fed Splitter for a close basket, good for a 29-31 Tau edge. Smodis kept pacing CSKA with a big basket but Hansen answered from downtown for Tau. Trajan Langdon fired in a jumper which Jacobsen erased in the other end, but Smodis's three-point play gave CSKA a 37-36 edge. Prigioni shined with a seven-meter three while Vanterpool scored in penetration for a 39-39 tie at halftime.
Jacobsen stayed active right after the break with a quick layup, but Vanterpool copied in the other end, igniting a 6-0 run which Langdon capped with his first three-pointer, good for a 45-41 CSKA lead. David came to the rescue with consecutive basket-plus-fouls but Van den Spiegel answered with his own three-point play to put CSKA back in charge, 48-47. Splitter stepped up with a put-back basket which David followed with an off-balance jumper, but Smodis had other ideas in mind. He nailed a corner three, igniting an 11-0 run in which he had 7 points. Papaloukas capped it with a turnaround jumper which put CSKA fully in charge, 59-51. Splitter and Savrasenko exchanged baskets, while Hansen buried a tough jumper for a 61-55 Tau deficit. Vanterpool came off the baseline to find a three-point play, and even when Jacobsen buried a big three, Papaloukas beat the buzzer with a layup for a 66-59 CSKA margin after 30 minutes.
Langdon pushed CSKA's lead to double-digits with a long three-pointer, 69-59. Chalmers beat the shot clock with a jumper but Van den Spiegel erased it with a two-handed dunk, as Scola returned to the floor with 8 minutes to go. Jacobsen fired in his fifth triple, as Tau switched to zone defense. Vanterpool beat it with a driving layup and then forced Scola's fifth foul. David hit a jumper for a 75-66 Tau deficit, but an unstoppable Vanterpool answered with a tough shot. Erdogan hit a running three but CSKA was now on fire. Holden slashed for a layup which Papaloukas followed with a fast breal dunk off a Tau timeout, enough to seal the win, 81-69, with 2 minutes remaining. David and Jacobsen tried to change things with consecutive baskets, but Tau ran out of time, as CSKA stepped off court as the Group F leader.
Wednesday, March 1, 2006