CSKA's unbeaten run to open the season continued on Friday night against FC Bayern Munich, and CSKA made it look easy by taking control and pulling away early behind its close-to-perfect offense. CSKA built a double-digit lead in the first quarter, and Bayern never came closer than 7 points the rest of the game. Sounds like a proven recipe, only it hasn't really been so this season for CSKA.
It may be surprising, but on its unbeaten journey so far in the EuroLeague, CSKA found itself trailing more often than not in the first half. CSKA was down 9 points in the second quarter at home against both Darussafaka Istanbul and Olympiacos Piraeus. It also trailed by double digits on the road against Herbalife Gran Canaria and AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan, going down by 13 late in the third quarter against the latter.
None of that happened on Friday night at the Audi Dome, where CSKA's offense was impeccable over the game's first 7 minutes. CSKA scored on 11 of its first 12 trips down the floor, making 6 of 7 two-pointers, 4 of 6 triples and 4 of 4 free throws. CSKA even pulled down offensive rebounds on 2 of its 3 missed shots in the span, opening a 18-28 lead that it never even came close to relinquishing.
With Sergio Rodriguez running the show, every CSKA starter – Alec Peters, Cory Higgins, Othello Hunter and Will Clyburn – scored, getting CSKA's offense in a rhythm that Bayern could not match.
"Except the opening two minutes, in the first half we were very good and everything looked easy," head coach Dimitris Itoudis said after the game. “We shared the ball well, followed the plan on the defensive end. We forced turnovers and hit shots."
The hot start carried CSKA to 56 first-half points, a team-high for any half this season. Even with its offense slowing down after the break, CSKA did not look approachable at any point of the game for Bayern. CSKA now holds a 7-0 record for its best start since winning the first 15 games in the 2014-15 campaign.