CSKA Moscow started the season in an incredible way by edging Maroussi Costa Coffee 65-66 in Athenson Wednesday on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Viktor Khryapa. The final seconds proved to be among the most exciting finishes of a Euroleague game in recent history. The game featured three lead changes in the final 10.4 seconds. Trajan Langdon downed a baseline jumper for a 62-63 CSKA edge, but Billy Keys buried a seven-meter three-pointer to put Maroussi back ahead, 65-63, with 1.4 seconds to go. CSKA called timeout and managed to put the ball in the hands of Khryapa, who sank an outstanding fade-away three-pointer at the buzzer. Langdon led the winners with 18 points. J.R. Holden added 16, Ramunas Siskauskas had 12 while Khryapa just got 5, but added 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. Kostas Kaimakoglou led Maroussi with 15 points. Keys added 14, Dimitris Mavroeidis 13 and Jamon Lucas had 10 for the hosts, who were playing in Europe’s premier competition for the first time.
Jared Homan got Maroussi going with a fast-break dunk and he soon beat the shot-clock buzzer with a mid-range jumper for a 4-2 lead. CSKA tried to run its offense through Dimitry Sokolov in the opening minutes, but Levon Kendall downed a four-meter jumper and Keys added a fast break layup to keep Maroussi ahead, 8-3. CSKA could not find the way to the basket, but Siskauskas fed Holden for an open three-pointer. Keys scored again after a timeout as CSKA tried to slow down the game tempo to find better shots. Sokolov took over with a two-handed dunk and Langdon came off a screen to hit a big triple that gave the guests their first lead, 10-11. Lucas shined with a floating jumper over Sokolov that Siskauskas bettered with a bomb from downtown. Sokolov scored in transition and a red-hot Langdon sank a six-meter jumper to boost the guests' margin to 12-18 after 10 minutes.
Kaimakoglou fired in a three-pointer at the start of the second quarter as Maroussi turned to Mavroeidis to stop Sokolov. Michalis Pelekanos added his own shot from downtown to tie the game again, 18-18. CSKA opted for a faster lineup with Ivan Radenovic and Khryapa together on court, trying to change the game rhythm. Langdon took over with a wild catch-and-shoot triple, but a tip-in by Mavroeidis kept Maroussi close. Lucas and Langdon traded layups before CSKA called timeout to improve its poor ball circulation. Holden buried a long jumper that Mavroeidis erased with an alley-oop layup. Kaimakoglou sank his second three-pointer, but free throws by Siskauskas off a CSKA timeout and another jumper by an unstoppable Langdon allowed CSKA to regain the lead, 27-30. A turnaround jumper by Kaimakoglou, a huge triple by Mario Batis and a fast break layup by Mavroeidis gave Maroussi a 34-32 edge at the break.
CSKA struggled to score early in the third quarter, as Pelekanos managed to stop Siskauskas. Langdon stepped up with free throws and CSKA was its usual self in defense, keeping Maroussi scoreless for more than three minutes. Lucas took over with a running jumper, however, and Keys soon added a three-pointer from the left wing for a 39-34 Maroussi lead. Holden provided a highlight with a stop-and-pop three-pointer, but he didn't find much help. Still Holden battled on with a wild driving layup that brought CSKA within 40-39. Kaimakoglou made free throws, but Zoran Planinic and Holden soon helped CSKA to regain the lead, 42-43. Mavroeidis scored around the basket, but free throws by Holden and a power layup by Radenovic kept the guests ahead, 45-47. Keys sank a seven-meter bomb only for Holden to answer with a running jumper to provide another lead change, 48-49, at the end of the third quarter.
CSKA tried to speed up its offense early in the fourth quarter, but Maroussi had improved its defense and was not allowing any open shots. Khryapa stepped up with a baseline jumper, but a layup by Lucas kept Maroussi within 50-52 with seven minutes to go. Kaimakoglou struck again from downtown, however a layup-plus-foul by Radenovic kept CSKA ahead, 53-55. Lucas scored again in penetration, but Siskauskas bettered that with a three-pointer. Mavroeidis shined with a big basket in the low post before Siskauskas downed another triple for a 57-61 CSKA lead with three minutes remaining. Mavroeidis committed a turnover, but made up his mistake with a key three-point play and a fast break dunk by Kaimakoglou gave Maroussi a 62-61 edge with 1:10 to go. Pelekanos blocked Holden's five-meter shot, but Maroussi committed a 24-second violation, giving CSKA the ball back with 21.6 seconds remaining. Langdon answered the call with a baseline jumper, but Keys buried a huge seven-meter bomb with 1.4 seconds to go. CSKA called timeout and Khryapa provided the first highlight of the 2009-10 Euroleague season with a fade-away three-pointer that gave CSKA the win at the buzzer!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009