CSKA Moscow ended the Top 16 with yet another defensive exhibition by downing Partizan 55-86 in Belgrade, Serbia to finish Group E unbeaten on Thursday night. CSKA finished Group G with a perfect 6-0 record and will face Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv in the best-of-three Quarterfinal Playoffs. Meanwhile, Partizan dropped to 1-5 and lost the chance to advance to the playoff, as it needed to win and see Olympiacos beat Joventut in Greece to finish second in this group. Trajan Langdon and David Andersen led the winners each with 13 points. Oscar Torres added 11 while J.R. Holden and Aleksey Savrasenko each had 10 for CSKA, that got its 16th consecutive Euroleague win and became one of four teams to ever finish the Top 16 unbeaten. Nobody scored in double digits for Partizan, even when Uros Trpkovic, Dusan Kecman and Predrag Drobnjak each had 9 points. CSKA dominated the game since the early going, as Holden and Langdon led CSKA to a 10-23 margin after 10 minutes. Torres and Andersen took over to boost CSKA's lead to 20-41 at halftime and the guests kept a safe margin all the way.
Matjaz Smodis got CSKA going with a jump hook while a technical foul on Partizan coach Dusko Vujosevic allowed Langdon to follow free throws with a layup for a 0-6 lead. Tripkovic stepped up with a driving layup that Torres erased with a floating jumper. Tripkovic and Savrasenko traded baskets, but Partizan had been limited to just 4 points in as many minutes and opted to call timeout to fix its offense. Langdon took over with one from downtown, as Partizan went scoreless for 3 minutes until Vonteego Cummings hit a free throw. J.R. Holden nailed a jumper but Kecman matched it for a 7-15 Partizan deficit. Holden fed Savrasenko for an easy basket and then buried another shot in a 0-8 run than he capped with another basket, good for a 7-23 CSKA margin. Drobnjak fired in one from downtown to get Partizan within 10-23 after 10 minutes.
CSKA kept dominating its game with outstanding defense, while Anton Pnkrashov nailed a wild jumper that Nikola Pekovic erased with a layup. CSKA found a new go-to guy in Andersen, who stepped up with 7 unanswered points on free throws and a layup-plus-foul to give his team a mamooth 12-32 lead. Partizan kept struggling to score, not even finding good shots, but Drobnjak got his team going with free throws. Torres answered from downtown and than provided a highlight with an outstanding one-handed alleyoop dunk. Torres soon added free throws to make it a 25-point game, 14-39. Kecman and Thomas Van den Spiegel traded layups while Kosta Perovic found his first points on free throws. More foul shots by Cummings got Partizan within 20-41 at halftime. CSKA limited Partizan to just 5-of-18 two-pointers and 1-of-9 triples in the first half.
Nothing changed after the break, as Partizan could not find the way to the basket. Meanwhile, Holden buried a long two-pointer and Savrasenko banked in a hook shot for a 25-point CSKA lead, 20-45. Luka Bogdanovic tried to wake Partizan up with a triple but Langdon answered from downtown to silence the crowd. Tripkovic stepped up with a layup while Cummings nailed a jumper to get Partizan within 27-50. Perovic dunked it but Langdon buried a three-pointer and Van den Spiegel added a layup to make Partizan call timeout at 29-55. Bogdanovic scored again but Theo Papaloukas answered with free throws. Cummings fired in a jumper and Novica Velickovic added a close basket for a 35-57 Partizan deficit. Andersen and Zakhar Pashutin made free throws but Bogdanovic brought the hosts within 38-60. Pashutin dunked it off a steal to seal the outcome, 38-62, at the end of the third quarter.
All Partizan fans didn't keep an eye in the Olympiacos - Joventut game anymore, as there was no way that CSKA could lose its advantage. Meanwhile, CSKA kept rolling in both ends. Papaloukas fed Van Den Spiegel for an easy basket that made the hosts call timeout at 38-64. Andersen buried a turnaround jumper while Papaloukas stepped up with a driving layup while Pashutin and Andersen buried three-pointers in a 0-10 CSKA run that made it a 36-point game, 40-76, with 4 minutes to go. Everything was said and done, as CSKA will carry on fighting to defend the Euroleague title. Meanwhile, Partizan put a bitter end to a fantastic Euroleague season in which the team made the Top 16 for the first time in club history.
Thursday, March 22, 2007