2001-02Top 16Round 3
March 20, 2002 CET: 00:00
Local time: 00:00 FERNANDO BUESA ARENA
CSKA Moscow on Wednesday night made the Group H race as interesting as any in the Top 16 by knocking off leader Tau Ceramica on the road in Spain by a solid 73-87. Despite trailing very early on, CSKA controlled the tempo, style of play, and most importantly the scoreboard throughout all four quarters. CSKA improves to 2-1 with the victory while Tau drops to the same record and now shares the top spot in Group H with the Russians. Gordan Giricek led the charge for CSKA with consistent outside shooting that really hurt Tau. Giricek netted the game-high 25 points, followed by Curtis McCants with 16, Dimitri Domani with 15, and Mirsad Turckan and Ruben Wolkowyski both picking up double-doubles. Turckan collected 13 points and 12 boards, Wolkowysky 11 and 10. For Tau, the stars from this past weekend's Spanish Cup victory, Elmer Bennett and Dejan Tomasevic, did not have very good games, a tell-tale sign for the offense in general. Tau shot only 20% from downtown (4 for 20), and under 50% from the field in general. Luis Scola led the way for Tau with 16 points, Bennett added 14, Laurent Foirest 13 and Tomasevic 12.

The game started with a big ovation from the home crowd for the Spanish Cup victory, but Tau had to get down to the business of defending its Group H lead against a visitor with eyes on the same prize. Tau jumped onto the parquet wanting to please its crowd and set off with a couple showtime plays by Hugo Sconochini and Fabricio Oberto. But CSKA came back quickly and surely, with a fast-paced versatility that gave the visitors the lead, 6-13, after 6 minutes. McCants, Turkcan and Giricek all got on the board early, and by the time the latter hit his first three-pointer, he was up to 7 points. That forced Tau into calling its first timeout and bringing Bennett and Chris Corchiani onto the court in a twin point guard set. But not even the arrival of those veteran game-changers helped the Spaniards' offense. More surprising, perhaps, was Tau's defense being unable to hold back the Russians. At the end of the first quarter, CSKA led by 8 points, 14-22, and had all the confidence it needed to keep going.

The second quarter proved even worse for the hosts, as they tried to come back but just didn't have it in them. On the other hand, CSKA was well prepared for everything Tau threw at them. They played an open game and spread the floor on offense to allow their shooters to control the tempo, especially Giricek. Accurate shooting combined with good defense in the paint allowed the guests to maintain the lead. The game became much more physical which forced the referees to call a double foul on Andres Nocioni and Giricek, as the defenses for both teams started to tighten up. Tau handled the intensity better and slowly, point by point, Tau managed to cut into the lead until it was the same as when the second period started. CSKA's late efforts were not enough to distance themselves before the break, when the scoreboard read 39-47.

In the third quarter, the one thing that had been lacking finally appeared: intensity. Both teams showed the will to win, especially the hosts, who tightened their defense even more and made better choices at the offensive end. But as Tau's game improved, so did CSKA's, in the form of better shooting from beyond the arc. They hit 3 three-pointers in barely 4 minutes to help maintain the lead at 50-59 in the 25th minute. The gap in the score made Tau coach Dusko Ivanovic call a timeout, but coach Valery Tikhonenko's players were not affected and kept on playing with the same intensity, to go along with their speed and long-range shooting. CSKA kept Tau's basket on fire at the end of the third and led 58-66.

In the last quarter, Tau continued to strengthen their defense and were finally able to cut the lead to just 6 points, but CSKA did not allow the hosts any closer. Their problem was execution. During a scoreless stretch in which Tau could not get anything to fall, Nocioni stood all alone under the basket and bricked an uncontested layup. CSKA, too, began struggling on offense but their defense and Tau's poor shooting helped maintain the lead. Finally CSKA awoke from its slump and began converting opportunities and increased its lead once again. Over the final minutes Tau became desperate and threw up threes and jumpers from all over the court and as CSKA pulled in rebound after rebound, Tau was forced to foul. CSKA calmly converted their free throws and sealed the game and their share of first place.
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Igor Marin, Vitoria
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Referees: KOUKOULEKIDIS, STELIOS (GRE), PUKL,SASA (SLO), JANAC, LADISLAV (SVK)
Attendance: 8200
By Quarter1234
Tau Ceramica14251915
CSKA Moscow22251723
End of Quarter1234
Tau Ceramica14395873
CSKA Moscow22476487
Tau Ceramica
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 SCOLA, LUIS 21:45 16 7/9   2/2 1 1 2     1     6 1 10
5 NOCIONI, ANDRES 13:38 2 1/5 0/1   2 1 3   1 4     3 2 -4
6 BENNETT, ELMER 26:36 14 0/1 3/8 5/6 2 1 3 5 2 3     3 8 19
7 FOIREST, LAURENT 34:09 13 3/8 0/4 7/9 1 4 5 1   1     1 4 10
10 SCONOCHINI, HUGO 17:43 6 2/3 0/2 2/2   1 1 1 1 2     3 2 3
12 TOMASEVIC, DEJAN 25:37 12 6/8   0/4 4 5 9 2   1   1 1 3 17
14 OBERTO, FABRICIO 31:53 5 2/10   1/4 4 3 7 2 3 1 2   4 3 6
15 CORCHIANI, CHRIS 28:39 5 1/1 1/5     2 2 2 2 2     3 1 3
Team             2 2   1         1 4
Totals 200:00 73 22/45 4/20 17/27 14 20 34 13 10 15 2 1 24 25 68
        48.9% 20% 63%
Head coach: IVANOVIC, DUSKO
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 MC CANTS, CURTIS 36:19 16 2/3 2/4 6/9   1 1 8 1 7     5 5 13
6 TURKCAN, MIRSAD 34:41 13 4/8 1/2 2/5 5 7 12 1   3   1 3 5 16
7 WOLKOWYSKY, RUBEN 34:05 11 4/7 1/1   1 9 10   3 1 1   3   18
10 GIRICEK, GORDAN 36:48 25 8/12 2/6 3/3   2 2 1   5   1 4 3 13
11 PASHUTIN, ZAKHAR 27:29 7 3/4 0/3 1/2 1 3 4 1 3 2     4 2 6
13 MIGLIENIKS, RAIMONDS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 DOMANI, DMITRY 20:54 15 4/5 0/1 7/7 3 3 6 1 3 1     3 6 25
15 PETRENKO, ALEXANDRE 2:40               1         2   -1
16 FETISOV, ANDREI 7:04   0/1                     1 2  
Team             2 2     1       1 2
Totals 200:00 87 25/40 6/17 19/26 10 27 37 13 10 20 1 2 25 24 92
        62.5% 35.3% 73.1%
Head coach: TIKHONENKO, VALERY
This game has no play by play yet

Head Coaches

IVANOVIC, DUSKO
Tau Ceramica
"We lost a game that can make us say goodbye to the Final Four, and we lost because some players didn't have their mind on this game. We knew how they play, but if you don't think about giving it all on court, it's impossible to win. Some have given everything they had, others didn't, and we'll see what do we do about that. We still have options. They deserved to win anyway. I thought that I had intelligent players that knew that the King's Cup had aleady come to an end, but tonight I saw that some of them hadn't realized that yet".
TIKHONENKO, VALERY
CSKA Moscow
"I'm happy for our victory. The game was important and we didn't manage to break it open until the last quarter. We played our best defense tonight. I know that they played several straight games: Maccabi, the King's Cup... but we also played a very tough game in the Russian League. I think that Tau wasn't as concentrated as they have been on other nights."

Players

WOLKOWYSKY, RUBEN
CSKA Moscow
"Every game won in the Euroleague is very important, and winning here in Vitoria is even more important because it is the strongest rival in the Euroleague. I think that we won because we played well and we managed to stop their best players. They played tough, but we played a good defense also, and they didn't have a good night from the perimeter, but again, that's also because of our defense. Our group is the most open. We were robbed in Tel Aviv, and if it wasn't for that we would be 3-0 and almost in the Final Four".
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