CSKA held off Gescrap BB for a 71-73
CSKA Moscow survived a late challenge from Gescrap BB for a 71-73 win at Bilbao Arena to march into the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Istanbul with a 3-1 series win. Andrei Kirilenko starred with 23 points and 8 rebounds – the final coming with 2 seconds to go to secure the win. Aaron Jackson rallied Gescrap from 14 down in the fourth quarter to 70-71 in the final seconds. He then went to the line with his team down 3 and 2.9 seconds remaining. The point guard made the first –barely – and missed the second on purpose, but Kirilenko rose for the rebound to seal the game and series. Ramunas Siskauskas and Nenad Krstic added 13 each, Viktor Khryapa scored 10 and Milos Teodosic dished 8 assists for the winners. Jackson paced the Men in Black with 19 points and 8 assists. D’Or Fischer added 12 points and Axel Hervelle 10 as Gescrap finished a spectacular debut season in the Euroleague with a tough loss.
The visitors went inside straight away to Krstic, who drew a foul and split free throws to open CSKA’s account. Kostas Vasiliadis got Bilbao on the board. After baskets by Alex Mumbru and Siskauskas, the score was even at 4-4. The teams continued trading jabs, as the point guards assisted to the big for easy baskets and each side missed wide-open opportunities. Then Kirilenko and Aaron Jackson swapped threes. Siskauskas converted a layup-plus-foul on the break to put CSKA up 9-12, but a Fischer jumper kept the hosts within 1 midway through the quarter. An offensive foul on Mumbru put a wrinkle in Gescrap’s plans; his third foul less than six minutes into the game sent him to the bench for an extended period. Fischer added another jumper and Krstic scored inside as the game stayed close. CSKA started to pull away as Kirilenko scored from the line and then set up Krstic for a dunk and a 13-19 lead. Free throws from Andrey Vorontsevich put the visitors up 8 before Janis Blums hit a jumper on the buzzer to make it 15-21 after 10 minutes.
Kirilenko continued to lead CSKA away with a triple to open the second quarter, though Raul Lopez matched him from downtown. Marko Banic got on the board, but Gescrap missed twice with attempts to come within one shot. A technical foul on Roger Grimau gifted Siskauskas 2 free throws. Blums and Milos Teodosic shined with brilliant respective passed to Dimitrios Mavroeidis and Sasha Kaun. Teodosic soon led a break that finished with a Khryapa slam and a 22-30 CSKA lead. Blums zipped to the basket for a pretty finish. Teodosic found Kirilenko for a slam before Vasiliadis hit back. Another Teodosic assist to Kirilenko inside lifted CSKA to 26-36. After Banic free throws, A Krstic follow basket kept the visitors rolling and Khryapa added a foul shot for a 28-29 halftime lead for the visitors.
Jackson came out confident and nailed a three, but Kirilenko matched him from downtown. Fischer took a star turn with a follow-dunk at one end and stuffing Krstic at the other. A Hervelle jumper closed the gap to 35-42 and prompted a CSKA timeout. Soon Hervelle became the fourth Bilbao player with 3 fouls and Khryapa made the resulting free throws. Despite a Jackson floater, CSKA remained on course. Soon a reverse layup by Siskauskas had the visitors back up by double figures. However Mumbru tipped in his own miss and Hervelle sank a jumper as the Men in Black continued to fight. After Mumbru missed from three-point land, Khryapa didn’t, making it 41-51. And after Jackson found a cutting Hervelle for a layup, Kirilenko connected on his fourth triple. Gescrap refused to go away as Fischer rose to tip in a Mumbru miss and Mumbru also scored again, however the third quarter ended with CSKA in control 47-56.
Jamont Gordon lifted CSKA to its biggest lead yet with a three-pointer one minute into the fourth quarter as Bilbao Arena fell silent. Vasiliadis answered with 2 free throws, but Kirilenko looked to put the game away with free throws followed by a tip-in. But Jackson continued looking for ways to rally the troops. And after he drove for a basket and pulled up for a three, the crowd awoke. Then Vasiliadis followed with a triple and the crowd started to sing at 57-63. Teodosic picked up his first points of the night from the line. And as Gescrap struggled to generate more offense, Krstic tacked on 2 free throws over two possessions to restore a 10-point lead. Hervelle tried his best to close the gap with apair of baskets and after Krstic scored again, Jackson made it 63-70. Then a Mumbru floater made it a 5-point game with less than 90 seconds remaining. A Jackson free throw further cut it to 66-70. Kirilenko got 1 back for the visitors when he split free throws with 47.6 to go. Fischer narrowed the gap to 3 and then after Teodosic missed, Bilbao had the ball down 3. Kirilenko fouled Jackson, who made both for a 70-71 score with 7.5 seconds left. A quick foul put Teodosic on the line with 6.1 left and he sank both. Gordon fouled Jackson with 2.9 seconds remaining. The Gescrap point guard made the first –barely – and missed the second on purpose, but Kirilenko rose for the rebound to seal the game and series.
Friday, March 30, 2012