CSKA Moscow shook off a spirited but ultimately meaningless Group C challenge by dominating the final quarter to defeat host Partizan 79-92 on the road in Belgrade on Wednesday. The last regular season game for both teams was not going to change either's standing. CSKA finished 10-4, good only for third place in Group C, but will be on the second level of the Top 16 Draw due to its victory total. Partizan, playing without injured leader Dejan Milojevic, finished 2-12, the worst record in the Euroleague. The difference didn't seem that great during three quarters in which the lead went back and forth, until little by little CSKA's depth and experience allowed it to pull away. Trajan Langdon led the winners with 19 points and had 4 steals. Theodoros Papaloukas and David Vanterpool follwed with 14 points each, while J.R. Holden had 13 and Matjaz Smodis 11. Partizan got 20 points from Predrag Suput, 17 from Luka Bogdanovic and 15 each from Uros Tripkovic and Kosta Perovic, who also hd 10 rebounds.
Langdon opened the scoring for CSKA but Suput tied the score after an assist by Vonteego Cummings, starting in his first appearance for Partizan. Tripkovic added 4 points to push the hosts ahead 6-3 even though Partizan decided to play without slightly injured team leader Dejan Milojevic. CSKA reacted with a 0-7 run to a 6-10 lead as Smodis made free throws and Holden a triple and fastbreak layup. After a Partizan timeout, Perovic and Suput tied the score. Suput added jumper to cap a 6-0 run to a 12-10 Partizan lead. The teams traded baskets and the lead after that, with Bogdanovic making 8 himself over the last 4 minutes of the quarter, which ended with Partizan holding a 23-22 edge.
Langdon's three-point play gave CSKA new 25-26 lead but when CSKA coach Ettore Messina recieved a technical foul and Cummings fired a bomb, Partizan had a 31-25 lead. Partizan coach Dusan Vujosevic also got a technical then, and sure enough, CSKA took over the lead 33-34 with Langdon's triple and a three-point play by Papaloukas. Suput answered with a pair of jumpers, Bogdanovic followed with 5 points in a row and Partizan jumped in front 42-36 in minute 18. Nikita Kurbanov stopped Partizan's 9-2 run, then Langdon added a fastbreak three-pointer and Papaloukas free throws as CSKA took a new lead, 42-43. Bogdanovic tied from the line, leaving a 43-43 score after 20 minutes.
After several misses on both sides to start the second half, Novica Velickovic dunked for Partizan, but Langdon and Holden answered for CSKA. Suput responded to them for Partiza with a jumper and shot from downtown but Kurbanov scored from the line and CSKA was one point ahead, 50-51. Holden and Petar Bozic traded triples and teams kept playing basket for basket until Suput scored his third triple to put Partizan up 60-58. Alexey Savrasenko tied for CSKA and Holden fired the guests ahead 62-64 from the arc, but Perovic would tie 64-64 from the foul line for Partizan. Vanterpool got the last word of the third quarter as his 4 points finished it with CSKA on top 64-68.
Savrasenko dunked on the fastbreak, forcing Partizan to call timeout after scoreless 2 minutes of the final period. Vasily Zavoruev and Tripkovic traded triples, but when Papaloukas scored a jumper and Smodis a triple, there wasn't a new Partizan response. CSKA's lead was in the double digits, 69-80, and though Tripkovic and Smodis traded triples one more time, it was obvious that CSKA had more strength in the final period. Langdon fired another from behind the arc and the guests led 74-90 with 2 minutes to go, a margin that remained strong through the end of the game and the end of the regular season for both teams.
Wednesday, February 8, 2006