CSKA storms to big win in Piraeus
Playoff-bound CSKA Moscow made a huge second-half push to run away with an 81-97 road win against Olympiacos Piraeus on Friday and inch closer to securing home-court advantage in the upcoming playoffs. This victory was CSKA's sixth consecutively, which improved its second-place record to 19-5. Olympiacos lost its fifth straight game, dropping to 12-12 and eighth place. Neither team held a lead bigger than 5 points during the game's first 28 minutes, but CSKA went on a 7-26 run to blow the game wide open. CSKA had six players in double figures, with Cory Higgins scoring 18 points while Sergio Rodriguez collected 15 points and 12 assists. Zach LeDay paced the hosts with 21 points and Vassilis Spanoulis finished with 14 and 7 assists.
Spanoulis had a three-point play and a pair of assists for LeDay in the early going that gave Olympiacos a 13-11 lead. Rodriguez hit back-to-back triples for CSKA to go in front, but only briefly as Briante Weber went coast-to-coast and Georgios Printezis beat the buzzer from close range to give the hosts 23-21 after 10 minutes. CSKA got a boost from Nando De Colo in the second quarter before a three-pointer and a fastbreak basket from Will Clyburn made it 26-29. The teams went at each other, basket for basket, for a while then. Spanoulis and De Colo traded three-pointers, and after Kyle Hines had a big dunk for CSKA, Weber made a runner for the hosts. Spanoulis hit from deep and Vangelis Mantzaris copied him for Olympiacos to regain a lead, but Higgins knocked down his own triple at the last second to give CSKA a 50-51 lead at halftime. Olympiacos got in foul trouble at the start of the second as first Spanoulis and right after him Weber got to 4 personal fouls each. Othello Hunter did damage inside early in the third quarter before a three from Higgins opened up a 54-58 CSKA advantage. The hosts scored the next 6 points with a triple from Printezis giving Olympiacos a new 60-58 advantage, but that was the last time the Reds would lead. Kyle Hines scored twice inside and Higgins hit a jumper to help make it 64-72 after three quarters. Hines then scored 6 more points early in the fourth and Higgins added another jumper as the margin reached double digits. A triple from De Colo, followed by a dunk and a jumper from Will Clyburn, opened a 70-89 margin with 4:12 to go as CSKA paved the way to victory.
Movers and shakers
Cory Higgins led CSKA's scorers with 18 points, while Rodriguez orchestrated offense with 12 assists and only 1 turnover. Nando De Colo scored 16, Kyle Hines was everywhere with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks. Will Clyburn had 14 points plus 8 rebounds, while Othello Hunter had 10 points plus 8 rebounds.
Olympiacos did not record a single steal in this game. The only other time that happened this century for the Reds was in a road loss at Unicaja Malaga in October 2009.
Kyle Hines entered this game with 197 blocks for his EuroLeague career, then matched his career-high with 4 blocks tonight, becoming only the fourth player in competition history to reach the 200-block milestone.
By starting in this game, Vassilis Spanoulis made his 300th appearance in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, becoming just the fifth player to reach that milestone. The previous players to have achieved 300 games in the EuroLeague are Juan Carlos Navarro, Felipe Reyes, Paulius Jankunas and Nikos Zisis.
Next week in Round 25, Olympiacos goes on the road to play Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, paying its first visit to the Montenegrin capital this century. CSKA will try to keep its six-game win streak going at home against AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan, which is on a five-game winning streak of its own.
Friday, March 1, 2019