CSKA Moscow stays unbeaten in Top 16 Group F and took a huge step torwards the quarterfinal playoffs by beating GHP Bamberg 64-75 on the road in Germany on Thursday night. CSKA leads Group F with a 3-0 record and could actually make it to the next round if it beats Lietuvos Rytas at home next week. Meanwhile, Bamberg dropped to 0-3 and will likely need to win its three remaining games to keep its playoff chances alive. Matjaz Smodis led the winners with 23 points on 8 of 13 two-pointers and 8 rebounds. Trajan Langdon added 14 points while J.R. Holden had 13 for CSKA. Demond Mallet had 12 points for Bamberg while Dickey Simpkins had 10 in his second game with the hosts, who trailed 46-62 early in the final period. Simpkins, Mallet and Rick Stafford brought Bamberg within 64-65 with 2 minutes to go, when Holden became CSKA's go-to guy. He scored 5 points in a 0-10 run that allowed the guests to stay unbeaten in this group.
Robert Garrett, starting for injured defensive ace Koko Archibong, got Bamberg started with a breakaway layup after a steal by Mallet. Smodis's hook shot quickly evened things, and then Langdon hit back-to-back jumpers to put CSK ahead 2-8 after 3 minutes, forcing Bamberg's first timeout. Mallet's jumper calmed Bamberg and the team's traded baskets until he drained a three-pointer that cut CSKA's lead to 9-10. Vanterpool eased through the Bamberg defense for a layup then, but Rick Stafford came off the Bamberg bench and evened the contest at 12-12 with a three-pointer from the wing. Smodis hit an inside basket and Papaloukas made free throws for a 12-16 CSKA lead. But Simpkins got an inside basket and Uvis Helmanis hit a three-pointer from the wing with 25 seconds remaining for a 17-17 score after 10 minutes.
Smodis broke the tie with a three-pointer from the top of the key to open the second quarter. He followed that with a three-point play, giving CSKA a 17-23 advantage. Simpkins broke Bamberg's four-minute scoreless drought with a basket inside. But Langdon's three-pointer pushed the CSKA lead up to 19-26 halfway through the second quarter. After another Bamberg timeout, Steffen Hamann responded to his coach's pleas, going to the floor for a lose ball, hitting a three-pointer and saving a ball from going out of bounds. With 3 minutes left in the half, Spencer Nelson hit free throws to cut the deficit to 24-26. Vanterpool hit 2 free throws of his own on the other end, but Garrett's driving layup and Mallet's mid-range jumper evened the score at 28-28 after 19 minutes. In the 60 seconds left, however, Smodis pushed CSKA back ahead by 6 points - 28-34 - with a pair of three-point plays before Derrick Phelps cut the difference to 30-34 with a layup off the glass just before halftime.
Smodis again opened the scoring after halftime with a basket inside before Hamann made a free throw and a layup to keep Bamberg close at 33-36. After Chris Ensminger's free throws for Bamberg, Langdon hit a mid-range jumper and a three-pointer to give CSKA a 35-43 advantage and force a Bamberg timeout. The hosts could get nothing going now, however, as Holden drained a three-pointer and Tomas Van Den Spiegel broke to the basket for an uncontested dunk and a 35-48 lead. After another Bamberg timeout, Holden buried another triple to finish off a 15-0 run by the guests. It took three-pointers by Helmanis, Phelps and Stafford to get Bamberg as close as 44-55, but Papaloukas matched them and added a two-point basket before the third quarter ended 46-60.
Again, it was Smodis with the first basket of the last quarter. That and Holden's long jumper boosted the lead to 47-64. Simpkins got 4 points bck for Bamberg before Mallet's three-pointer cut it to a 10-point game. After Nelson's fastbreak layup, Bamberg was somehow back in the game, down 56-64 with just under 4 minutes left. Then Hamann got a layup to go in and converted the three-point play to make it 59-64 with 3:23 left. When Vanterpool missed, Mallet hit a floater to make it a one-possession game. With 2:33 left, Smodis made just 1 of 2 free throws and Van Den Spiegel missed both of his free throws after a technical foul called against Ensminger. That let Stafford's three pointer finish a 17-1 run that brought Bamberg to within 64-65 with less than 2 minutes remaining. CSKA woke up just in time. Holden hit a jumper over Mallet and Van den Spiegel tipped in a miss to restore a 64-69 lead, leaving Holden's triple in the final minute to seal the deal and CSKA's still-undefeated Top 16.
Thursday, March 9, 2006