Defending champions CSKA kept their momentum going into the Top 16 by winning and 11th consecutive game to finish with the best regular season record following a 85-66 Group C victory over visiting Fenerbahce Ulker on Wednesday in Moscow. Indeed, with the win, CSKA posted the second-best regular season record all decade, 13-1, behind the club's 2004-05 team, which went undefeated in that phase. Fenerbahce, playing without suspended center Kaspars Kambala, finished 5-9 and eliminated from the competition. Trajan Langdon outside and David Andersen inside were the big guns for CSKA, scoring 20 and 18 points, respectively. Andersen added 9 rebounds for the winners, while Theodoros Papaloukas dished 12 assists. CSKA played without injured leading scorer Matjaz Smodis. Fenerbahce got 17 points from Will Solomon and 14 each from Damir Mrsic and Oguz Savas, while Mirsad Turkcan hauled down 12 rebounds. Fenerbahce fell behind early but rallied to within 45-39 late in the third quarter before Landgon and J.R. Holden combined for a trio of three-point shots to send the champs way ahead again.
CSKA rolled ahead quickly by going inside to Alexey Savrasenko and Andersen before Solomon got Fenerbahce on the board with a three-point shot. Langdon and Papaloukas took over from there with 6 consecutive points to make it 10-3. Only Solomon could respond for the visitors, but after some substitutions, CSKA was up to seven scorers as Nikita Kurbanov and Tomas Van den Spiegel dunked while David Vanterpool hit free throws. Damir Mrsic helped Fenerbahce with a triple before Anton Pokrashov became CSKA's eighth scorer in the quarter with a free throw that ended it 21-10.
CSKA maintained its double-digit lead despite Omer Onan popping Fenerbahce's third triple early in the second quarter. The hosts' defense ruled otherwise, as Savrasenko and Andersen returned with inside baskets to make it 27-13. CSKA was content to trade points for awhile until Langdon landed his teams first shot from the arc to make it 32-17. Oguz Savas rescued Fenerbahce then with a personal 2-6 run to cut the difference to 34-23. He gave way then to Mrsic, who used the half's last minute to fire up, and in, a pair of triples around one by Kurbanov of CSKA, leaving a single-digit difference, 37-29, on the scoreboard at the break.
Mrsic threatened to take over the game himself with a triple to start the second half. When Solomon joined him with a three-point basket-plus-free throw, Fenerbahce was suddenly within 39-35, marking the end of a 7-18 run stretching back to the second quarter. Papaloukas steadied CSKA with a layup and then fed Andersen for another. Solomon and Semih Erden kept Fenerbahce within 6 points, at 45-39, but that was the end of the threat. Andersen's next jumper was followed by a triple from Langdon to give CSKA breathing room. Before the quarter could finish, Langdon and Holden struck again with back-to-back shots from downtown to leave the hosts with a 57-46 lead after 30 minutes.
When Andersen and Holden combined for 5 points to start the final quarter, the outcome was clear, but triple by Ponkrashov made it clearer. The lead only widened from there even though Fenerbahce fired up some more shots from the arc. But Ponkrashov had another himself. Andersen and Van den Spiegel contained the middle and Langdon nailed a final triple to cap his shooting performance. CSKA had everything it could have wanted in the regular season, while Fenerbahce was left to wonder what might have been.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007