CSKA clinched at least third place in the Group C standings and overcame the absence of injured all-Euroleague big man David Andersen by thrashing visiting Ulker 74-51 in Moscow on Wednesday. CSKA improved to 9-4 in Group C and keeps a slim chance to finish second if it beats Partizan and Unicaja loses its two remaining games. Meanwhile, Ulker dropped to 4-9 but kept its Top 16 chances alive despite this loss. Trajan Langdon led the winners by making 6 of 6 two-pointers on his way to 18 points. Matjaz Smodis added 12 points and Aleksey Savrasenko grabbed 12 rebounds for the winners, while David Vanterpool had an all-around game with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Ibrahim Kutluay led Ulker with 16 points, including 3 consecutive triples which allowed the guests to cut their deficit to 28-25 late in the second quarter. It didn't last long, however, as CSKA broke open the game again with a mammoth 33-7 run and never looked back.
Both teams struggled to score for almost 3 minutes until Langdon came off a screen to hit a three-pointer for a 3-0 CSKA lead. Trepganier soon got Ulker going with free throws, but Savrasenko erased them with a reverse layup and added a jump hook to boost CSKA's margin to 7-2. Ulker kept missing one shot after another, while Holden downed a six-meter shot. Langdon then banked in his own jump shot and Papaloukas went full-court to draw a foul that forced an Ulker timeout at 11-3. The guests missed 7 field goal attempts until Trepagnier nailed a corner three that he followed with free throws to bring Ulker within 13-8. Smodis came to CSKA's rescue with a triple from the left wing, igniting a 8-0 run which he capped with another bomb from downtown, good for a 21-8 lead after 10 minutes.
CSKA kept rolling early in the second quarter, as Nikita Kourbanov's second-chance basket made it a 15-point game, 23-8. Ulker found a go-to guy in Kutluay, who fired in 3 consecutive bombs from downtown in a personal 0-9 run which brought the guests within 23-17. CSKA did not panic, as Holden fed Savrasenko for an easy basket while Panov joined in with a triple to make it 28-17. Drago Pasalic responded with a put-back dunk as Ulker started to look for its big men near the basket. Oguz Savas and Gulyas scored in the paint, too, during a 0-8 run that Kutluay capped with a driving layup to get Ulker within 28-25. Langdon hit a five-meter jumper, while Papaloukas followed free throws with a coast-to-coast layup, as well as finding Langdon for an open three which restored a 37-27 CSKA lead at halftime.
Vanterpool nailed a long jumper, his first basket of the game, right after the break. He followed with a steal and a put-back layup to give CSKA a 41-27 margin. Ulker carried on looking for answers on offense, while Smodis hit a three from the left wing and a hyperactive Vanterpool made free throws for a 46-27 CSKA lead. Ulker asked for a much-needed timeout, but Langdon nailed a short jumper to cap a game-breaking 20-2 run which bridged between both halves. Pasalic scored in the paint but Smodis buried his fourth triple to make it a 22-point game, 51-29. Langdon and Vanterpool combined for 6 quick points and Panov added a layup to already seal the outcome, 61-36, at the end of the third quarter.
Savas scored in the paint for the only points in the opening 3 minutes of the final quarter, prompting CSKA to call timeout. The hosts went scoreless for more than 4 minutes total until Papaloukas made free throws for a 63-39 margin. Ulker coach Ergin Ataman decided to put youngster Derya Yannier on court, while Gulyas shined in the final period and Kutluay hit a three to bring Ulker within 65-44. It was too little, too late for the guests, as Savrasenko and Vasiliy Zavourev rounded out a perfect game in which CSKA showed it its ready to stay competitive without Andersen on court.
Wednesday, February 1, 2006