Having already won its group, CSKA Moscow gave itself a chance to tie for the regular season's best record by taking care of business early in a 68-92 road win at last-place Virtus VidiVici Bologna on Wednesday. CSKA closed the regular season with a Group A record of 12-2, which will either be first- or second-best of all teams depending on what last season's champion, Panathinaikos, does in its last Group C game. Bologna finished 2-12 and in Group A's last place in its return to the Euroleague after a four-season absence. CSKA raced to a 3-19 lead to erase all suspense at the outset, letting the home fans admire the work that favorite son Ettore Messina does as head coach of CSKA Moscow. They stayed to the end and stood to applaud him when the game finished. In the interim, David Andersen led the winners with 15 points, while Nikos Zisis added 14, Marcus Goree 12 and Nikita Kurbanov 10. For Bologna, Dewarick Spencer finished with 20 points, Alan Anderson 19 and Fabio DiBella 10.
Goree got CSKAgoing with a bucket-plus-free throw and then stepped out for three-point single shot to fill most of an 1-8 opening run for the guests. The first Bologna basket - a put-back by Anderson - didn't arrive until almost 4 minutes were played, and didn't deter CSKA from continuing in its tracks as Trajan Langdon, Goree and Theo Papaloukas quickly made it a 12-point game at 3-15. While Bologna's offense struggled even to take a shot, a five-meter jumper by Andersen and foul shots by Langdon and Nikos Zisis ballooned the gap to 3-19. Anderson supplied a second basket for Bologna now, but Andersen hit another jumper for CSKA and Nikita Kourbanov's free throws gave the visitors a high lead of 5-24 advantage after 10 minutes.
Goree remained unstoppable under Bologna's rim as his layup made it 5-26 to start the second quarter. After 3 free throws by Donnie McGrath, CSKA posted another 0-9 run that Goree and Nikos Zisis capped with layups, making it 8-35. The hosts started then to fight for rebounds and were able to convert several possessions into opportunities for Anderson, who scored free throws, jumpers and layups to lower the deficity below 20 points at 20-38. CSKA tightened its defense once again, while Andersen kept rebounding and hitting jumpers on the other end. A corner three-pointer by Alexey Shved welcomed CSKA's youngsters to the game as Artem Zabelin closed the half with a huge dunk giving the guests a new 27-point lead, 24-51.
Di Bella jumper to open the third quarter, the first bucket by a non-American Bologna player in the game. After Anderson hit another shot, Di Bella's steal and fastbreak made it 30-53 after 22 minutes. Zisis and Andersen re-established a 27-point margin for CSKA at 30-57, but Anderson's passing skills and a three-pointer by Spencer - the Bologna's first - brought the hosts within 35-58. On the offensive end, CSKA kept running its give-and-go plays as layups by Zisis and Kourbanov were followed by a triple from Langdon for a new high lead, 37-65. Spencer's back-to-back three-pointers helped Bologna to get some oxygen but Papaloukas couldn't be handled by the hosts' defense as he fed Zabelin for another dunk. Luca Garri, however, hit another three-pointer as Virtus came a little closer, 48-72 score after 30 minutes.
CSKA made it a 30-point game to start the final quarter after Anatoly Kashirov scored 4 points and Ramunas Siskauskas a basket on the way to 48-78. Later, back-to-back three-pointers by Kourbanov and Shved enlarged the gap to 33 points, 53-86. It would remain CSKA's highest lead of the night as Bologna let its players padded their stats and give minutes to the younger ones. Saying goodbye to the Euroleague, the host crowd finally ended with a standing-ovation tribute to Messina, Bologna's historic head coach who now led CSKA to another first place in a Euroleague regular season group.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008