2018-19Regular SeasonRound 28
March 21, 2019 CET: 18:00
Local time: 20:00 MEGASPORT ARENA

CSKA holds off Fenerbahce in thriller

CSKA Moscow outlasted Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 70-68 on Thursday in a thrilling matchup between the teams with the best two records in the EuroLeague. Despite the loss, Fenerbahce remained atop the standings at 23-5, while CSKA climbed within 22-6. The game was a clash between the team with the best offense in the league, CSKA, and the best defense in the league, Fenerbahce, and it met expectations with two lead changes and four ties in the fourth quarter alone. Will Clyburn paced the winners with 16 points and 8 rebounds and Cory Higgins added 15 points; they combined for 14 of CSKA's 18 points in the fourth quarter. Nikola Kalinic posted 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, Ali Muhammed scored 15 points and Jan Vesely had 10 in defeat. Despite the loss, Fenerbahce salvaged the head-to-head tiebreaker versus CSKA with a layup at the buzzer.

Marko Guduric took charge early with the game's first 4 points. Sergio Rodriguez got CSKA going and the hosts soon took the lead at 7-6. Strong play from Nicolo Melli and Kalinic helped Fenerbahce surge ahead 9-16. After the TV timeout, both teams went to the bench with All-EuroLeague performers Nando De Colo of CSKA and Vesely of Fenerbahce coming in. Kyle Hines helped keep Fenerbahce scoreless for nearly 3 minutes as CSKA rallied within 2. Free throws by Vesely made it 14-18 after 10 minutes. Clyburn heated up early in the second quarter, but Fenerbahce's offense continued to produce and the visitors led 23-30 after a Muhammed triple. Kalinic later put Fenerbahce up 8, however, CSKA finished the second quarter on a 9-0 run – fueled in part by a Nicolo Melli unsportsmanlike foul and 5 points from De Colo – to lead 36-35 at the break. Rodriguez and Higgins hit back-to-back threes to open the second half as CSKA surged ahead. Kalinic led the Fenerbahce fight back and his jumper from the corner tied the game at 48-48. Hines buried a turnaround jumper to beat the shot clock and put CSKA up 52-48, which is how the third quarter ended. Fenerbahce held CSKA to just a single Clyburn bucket in the first half of the fourth quarter and tied it at 54-54 thanks to a pair of Muhammed threes. Kalinic gave Fenerbahce its first lead of the second half with a triple that made it 56-57, however, Nikita Kurbanov slammed home a missed Daniel Hackett layup for a narrow CSKA lead with 3 minutes remaining. It came down to the final minute. Melli tied the game at 65-65 from the line only to see Higgins drain a three from the corner with 25.6 seconds on the clock. After Muhammed split free throws, Clyburn made 2 from the line for a two-possession lead. Kostas Sloukas beat the buzzer with a reverse layup that salvaged the head-to-head tiebreaker for Fenerbahce against CSKA.

Key performer

Wll Clyburn was CSKA's top player in more ways than one. He not only led the team in points and rebounds, but Clyburn kept CSKA in it when Fenerbahce threatened to pull away in the second quarter with three fantastic dunks. His hustle led to 3 offensive rebounds and 7 fouls drawn as Clyburn was a thorn in Fenerbahce's side all night.

Decisive basket

The game hinged on Cory Higgins's three from the corner with 25.6 seconds remaining. The game was tie prior to that shot and by going ahead by 3, CSKA was able to use a tactical foul on Ali Muhammed to deny Fenerbahce a chance at tying it. When Muhammed split the free throws, Clyburn made it a two-possession game with 2 free throws.

Fenerbahce salvages tiebreaker

Despite the loss, Fenerbahce took a step towards locking up first place when Kostas Sloukas's layup at the buzzer limited the defeat to just 2 points. Because Fenerbahce won their first meeting 79-75, it took the head-to-head tiebreaker between the sides.

Next week

Both teams are on the road next week, though only one of them must travel. Fenerbahce visits AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan on Thursday. CSKA faces crosstown rival Khimki Moscow on Friday.

Will Clyburn - CSKA Moscow - EB18
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Euroleague.net
Referees: LOTTERMOSER, ROBERT; LATISEVS, OLEGS; JIMENEZ, BENJAMIN
Attendance: 10762 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow14221618
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul18171320
End of Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow14365270
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul18354868
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 DE COLO, NANDO 17:39 5 1/2 0/2 3/4   1 1 1   1       2 4
3 BOLOMBOY, JOEL 13:35           3 3     2     4   -3
5 PETERS, ALEC 20:10 8 2/5 0/1 4/4 2 2 4   1 1 1 1 1 2 9
7 UKHOV, IVAN 0:01                              
11 ANTONOV, SEMEN 0:01                              
13 RODRIGUEZ, SERGIO 18:33 9 3/4 1/2         4   3     2 2 8
21 CLYBURN, WILL 27:54 16 6/11 0/1 4/5 3 5 8     1     2 7 21
22 HIGGINS, CORY 24:56 15 3/4 3/5     1 1 1   1     1 3 15
23 HACKETT, DANIEL 21:29 5 1/3 1/2         1 1 1     4 1  
41 KURBANOV, NIKITA 22:48 4 2/2     1 7 8   2       1 1 14
42 HINES, KYLE 20:23 4 1/2   2/4   2 2 2   3     3 2 1
44 HUNTER, OTHELLO 12:31 4 2/4     1 1 2         1 3    
Team           1 1 2     1         1
Totals 200:00 70 21/37 5/13 13/17 8 23 31 9 4 14 1 2 21 20 70
        56.8% 38.5% 76.5%
Head coach: ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 GREEN, ERICK 7:55     0/1     1 1 1         1 1 1
4 MELLI, NICOLO 32:42 8 2/5 1/3 1/2 2 2 4 1 2       5 3 7
10 MAHMUTOGLU, MELIH 6:38     0/2                   1   -3
12 KALINIC, NIKOLA 36:13 17 6/9 1/3 2/3 4 3 7 4 1 2   1 1 4 23
13 BIBEROVIC, TARIK DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
16 SLOUKAS, KOSTAS 18:28 8 1/1 1/3 3/3   2 2 2 1 2     1 2 10
23 GUDURIC, MARKO 14:38 4 1/2 0/3 2/2 1   1   1 1     2 1  
24 VESELY, JAN 24:53 10 3/5   4/4   2 2 2 3 1 1   3 2 14
32 GULER, SINAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
35 MUHAMMED, ALI 25:24 15 2/5 3/5 2/3   2 2 2 2 2     2 7 18
44 DUVERIOGLU, AHMET 7:58   0/1     1   1       1   1    
70 DATOME, LUIGI 25:11 6 3/3 0/3   1 2 3 1   2     3 1 3
Team             3 3     2         1
Totals 200:00 68 18/31 6/23 14/17 9 17 26 13 10 12 2 1 20 21 74
        58.1% 26.1% 82.4%
Head coach: OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO

Head Coaches

ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS
CSKA Moscow
"I believe this is an important win for us psychologically because we beat the EuroLeague leader. As I said before the game, in the last five years the games between us are decided in the clutch, in overtimes, at the buzzer, with single defenses, tips, rebounds, etc. If we analyze the game, we deserved to win it, even though the win could go either way. We can be proud of our defense because we kept a very good offensive team down to 68 points. Overall, I can say that we've shown good defense in the last three-four games. In the first half, turnovers were our problem, we were practically giving the ball away to our opponents' hands, but at the end of the second quarter we started to play better and we were almost perfect on defense in the third quarter. We could have won it easier and have the margin that we needed, but [Ali] and Kalinic hit tough three-point shots. The game was full of strategy, we both tried to use our opponents' weaknesses. And in one more game, many of our players stepped up. Obviously, Will [Clyburn], Cory [Higgins] and Danny [Hackett] played important roles in the clutch, but everyone on the team contributed. 11 thousand fans really helped us, I am sure they enjoyed the game. We are at the end of the regular season but in fact, the season is just starting for us."
OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
"First, congratulations to CSKA. I said before the game that CSKA-Fenerbahce games are always interesting and it was the case tonight. It was an emotional game that was decided in the last seconds as always in our games. My players fought a lot and I can be proud of them. Also, I need to recognize that we made some bad decisions during the game. We had unnecessary turnovers on offense and we had moments of bad concentration on defense. We need to understand where the problems are and get ready for our last two games in the regular season and the playoffs."

Players

HINES, KYLE
CSKA Moscow
"We played a good game. Cory [Higgins] made some tough, clutch plays. Danny [Hackett] came in and made some big moments, got two big stops defensively. I think it was a whole team effort. Everybody who played the whole entire game continued to fight and continued to play well and that's what we need down this important stretch."
HIGGINS, CORY
CSKA Moscow
"[On the winning shot,] I saw the play develop and I knew once Danny [Hackett] got a slight advantage on his player, my player had to help for a split second, so I knew the ball was coming to me and I was ready for the shot. It's big for our confidence. We're playing really well right now. We just have to stay in a good way. We were really good defensively tonight. "
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