CSKA Moscow held off a determined Olympiacos Piraeus for an 88-79 Group A win on Wednesday in the Russian capital. CSKA, which was stunned on the road at Union Olimpija last week, won their 20th straight Euroleague home game at Universal Sports Arena. Ramunas Siskauskas led the way with a season-high 24 points – one less than his Euroleague career best – as CSKA retained a share of first place in the group at 3-1. Olympiacos dropped its fifth straight road game and second this season to fall to 2-2. The game was close from the beginning and despite several short runs for each side, neither ever led by double figures. The game was tied as late as four minutes into the fourth quarter, but the visitors, who leaned heavily on Lynn Greer and Marc Jackson, ran out of steam, while Siskauskas stepped up and drove the hosts to the victory. Trajan Langdon added 21 points and Theo Papaloukas had 14 for the winners. Greer paced the Reds with 27 points and 5 assists, but missed the closing minutes with a leg injury after running into CSKA big man David Andersen. Jackson posted 22 points and 7 rebounds for Olympiacos.
CSKA won the opening tip, but it was Olympiacos that struck first when Qyntel Woods hit a runner. Langdon got CSKA's first points with a layup off a broken play. After Georgios Printezis hit a jumper for the visitors, CSKA head coach Ettore Messina used an early timeout to talk his team's offensive struggles over. The break seemed to calm down the nerves of his shooters, as two triples from J.R. Holden and one from Langdon helped the hosts take a 13-9 lead. Greer free throws and a Jackson three put the Reds on top once again, but Siskauskas hit another three and Langdon added free throws as the pace picked up. Greer's first triple knotted the score at 19-19, just as Papaloukas made his first appearance. Jackson hit a jumper for an Olympiacos lead only to see Langdon better him with a triple. Printezis had the final say with a floater to make it 22-23 after 10 minutes.
Papaloukas got the second period going with a basket-plus-foul in transition and Alexey Savrasenko hit a second-chance hook shot as CSKA's confidence grew. Both teams intensified their defenses, which resulted in more fouls and and a slower pace. Kostas Vasiliadis put Olympiacos back on top with a three-from the corner that made it 27-28. The lead swayed on the next few possessions until Greer's acrobatic baseline drive resulted in a three-point play and a 34-38 lead for the visitors. Papaloukas sliced through the Olympiacos defense for an easy two and Woods committed an offensive foul at the other end as the momentum threatened to switch sides. Holden's next triple restored the CSKA lead and then Andersen drilled a triple to cap an 8-0 spurt. Olympiacos head coach Pini Gershon used a timeout, but Vasiliadis threw up a wild three-point attempt that missed and the Reds were punished on the other end when Greer committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Papaloukas, allowing the hosts to increase their advantage to 7. Greer anded the period with a slick penetration basket to make it 45-40 at the break.
Milos Teodosic drove to the basket to start the first half, however Siskauskas answered with a three. Greer came back with a four-point play, but just as the Reds got close, Langdon drilled a triple and Siskauskas and Savrasenko scored inside for a 55-46 CSKA lead. Greer and Jackson kept their team in the running with 7 straight points to get back within 2. Andersen made a pair of free throws for CSKA, but Greer hit a jumper over Papaloukas and then fed Jackson in the paint to tie the game at 57-57. Jackson matched a Papaloukas basket with free throws before a Greer triple gave Olympiacos its first lead of the half. Papaloukas drove the lane for a tough basket to end the third period with the visitors leading 61-62.
With Greer resting, the Olympiacos attack slowed down as the fourth quarter got underway. Langdon hit from downtown to get CSKA back on top, but that was the hosts' only basket in the first three minutes of the period. When Greer came back, so did the visitors' offense as Printezis tied the game at 66-66. Savrasenko scored inside and Nikos Zisis hit 2 free throws to put CSKA up 4. Greer's next basket was matched a Marcus Goree's mid-range shot. And then Greer's free throws were met with a clutch Siskauskas triple that made it 75-70. Olympiacos used a timeout to try and regroup, but Papaloukas made free throws to put his team up 7. Teodosic's triple was canceled by Goree and Greer slipped and was whistled for traveling on Olympiacos's next trip downcourt as the visitors' chances started to slip away. Greer then was bumped by Andersen while driving to the basket, fell to the ground and needed to be removed. Rob Blakney came in and made Greer's free throws, but Siskauskas answered from the line, then made a key steal, drew a foul and made 2 more for an 83-75 CSKA lead. Jackson's three-point play gave the Reds hope, but Siskauskas's triple with 1:20 remaining seemed to finalize the deal.
CSKA Moscow head coach, Ettore Messina
"It was a difficult game for both teams, but more for CSKA. We were trying to get in shape after two losses, and we expected Olympiacos to play zone defense for a rather long period of time. They did it, and I am glad we managed to make some important shots. I am pleased with the performances of Goree and Zisis. Zisis took the leadership in the crucial moments and Goree gave us our consistency. Before this game, CKSA was one of the worst Euroleague teams in offensive rebounds, and the fact that we improved in that helped in this game a lot."
CSKA Moscow guard, Nikos Zisis
"This is an important win for our team. It was very difficult to beat Olympiacos, but we finished up with good defense and tried to show all our talent in the end."
CSKA Moscow forward, Trajan Langdon
"It was a big win for our team. It was very hard to come back from two losses, first of all mentally. We had some ups and downs, but I am happy that we finally got the job done."
Olympiacos head coach, Pini Gershon
"We played a very good game. We were in the game for almost 40 minutes, but in the end, we made some mistakes that a team should not do in a game against CSKA. I guess with our current roster and the players we have, we did an excellent job. I hope that at home, we will be able to do better against them. According to the trainer, Lynn Greer has a rather bad injury that could take him a couple weeks to recover from."
Olympiacos forward, Panagiotis Vassilopoulos
"We lost the game in the small details. We expected it to be hard, but I guess, with all the injuries we had, we did pretty good to be in the game and trying to win at the end." Olympiacos guard Lynn Greer "We gave our maximum effort to win this game, but we missed shots in the last minutes. That's the reason we lost."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007