Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez provided the biggest surprise in Group C so far by downing reigning Euroleague champion CSKA Moscow 73-67 at home in France on Wednesday. Both teams are now tied at 2-1. Pau used an outstanding zone defense in the final period to shut down CSKA, while Britton Johnsen, Michael Bauer and Michael Wright provided all the big shots down the stretch. Johnsen led the winners with 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Wright added 15 points and 9 rebounds while Ricardo Greer had 10 points for Pau in its first win against CSKA since 2001. David Andersen had 20 points for CSKA. Trajan Langdon added 17 and David Vanterpool 10. Pau led for the best part of the opening half, but CSKA used a 0-15 run to gain control until the hosts used their zone defense to rally. CSKA scored just 3 points in 7 minutes, while Wright and Johnsen sparked a 17-3 run that sealed an incredible home win for Pau.
Michael Wright opened the scoring with a short jumper which Aaron Miles followed with a four-meter shot for a 4-2 Pau lead. Trajan Langdon scored in transition while Andersen followed a huge turnaround jumper to give CSKA its first lead at 4-6. Britton Johnsen answered with a quick layup and even when Aleksey Savrasenko shined with a left-handed jump hook, Wright erased with a short jumper. Both teams faced early foul trouble when C.C. Harrison and Savrasenko picked up their second one and head to the bench. Cedric Ferchaud fired in a three-pointer while Johnsen followed a fast break dunk with an alley-oop layup in a 9-0 Pau run which Wright capped with free throws to give Pau a 17-8 lead after 7 minutes. Andersen scored around the basket but a red hot Johnsen answered with an off-balanced jumper. David Vanterpool hit free throws and Theo Papaloukas added a driving layup, bit Ian Mahinmi came off the bench to dunk it and keep Pau ahead, 21-14. More free throws by Vanterpool and Xane D'Almeida fixed the score at 22-16 after 10 minutes.
Coach Ettore Messina opted for a small lineup with Vanterpool at power forward early in the second quarter and Michael Bauer made the most out of it with a layup which Miles followed with a turnaround jumper for a 26-16 Pau lead. Andersen tried to ignit the CSKA comeback with 4 free throws while Langdon scored off a steal to bring the guests within 26-22. Wright kept pacing Pau with a put-back layup, as CSKA entered the foul bonus midway through the second quarter. Langdon hit a triple and Andersen scored inside, but Greer and Wright answered to keep Pau ahead, 32-27. Holden hit a triple off the dribble while Miles and Andersen exchanged free throws for a 34-32 CSKA deficit. Greer and Johnsen stepped up with consecutive baskets while Holden followed Papaloukas' layup with a huge triple to keep CSKA close, 40-37. Ferchaud hit one from the left corner but Vanterpool scored in penetration while Papaloukas and Andersen made foul shots to get the guests within 43-41 at halftime.
CSKA was a different team in defense after the break, while Andersen scored inside and Anton Ponkrashov added a driving layup to give the guests a 43-45 lead. Pau was now forced to play with long possessions and finish them with off-balanced shots. Meanwhile, Langdon fired in a three-pointer and scored off a midcourt steal, while a free throw by Andersen capped a 0-14 run which gave CSKA a 43-51 margin. Pau had been scoreless for almost 5 minutes until Wright banked it a short jumper while Vanterpool erased in the other end. Wright answered with another basket but CSKA had gained the momentum already with its outstanding defense, now with Papaloukas (!) at power forward. Langdon made free throws but Greer found a close basket and Ferchaud buried his third triple to give Pau some hope at 52-55. Savrasenko and Greer traded baskets, as CSKA went back to a classic lineup off a timeout. Andersen fired in a short jumper to keep CSKA ahead, 54-59, after 30 minutes.
Pau kept its 2-1-2 zone defense and it managed to slow CSKA early in the final period, while Bauer fired in a jumper for a 56-59 deficit. Ponkarshov took over with a big triple to which Mahinmi answered with a close basket. CSKA struggled to score now while Johnsen stepped up with a jump hook to keep all the hosts' chances alive at 60-62. Johnsen scored in the low post while Bauer buried a big triple to force a CSKA timeout, 65-62, after a 9-0 Pau run. Langdon stayed on fire and nailed a critical triple but Johnsen scored in transition and Wright added a free throw for a 68-65 Pau edge with 4 minutes to go. Langdon drew Johnsen's fifth foul but Savrasenko missed free throws in the other end. CSKA kept struggling to score and insisted to take long jumpers without any success. Miles made 1 of 2 foul shots while Papaloukas committed consecutive turnovers. Greer scored coming off the baseline to seal an epic Pau win, 71-65, already in the final minute. By then, all Pau fans started to celebrate that their team had beaten the Euroleague champions!
Wednesday, November 8, 2006