CSKA crushes ALBA to storm into Top 16
CSKA Moscow became the first team to qualify for the Top 16 by hitting 15 three-pointers and leading from start to finish in hammering visiting ALBA Berlin 95-66 in the Russian capital on Thursday. CSKA kept its perfect record intact, improving to 6-0 with at least a two-win advantage atop of Group B. Meanwhile, ALBA saw its two-game win streak snapped, dropping to 2-4 and fourth place in the standings. Even without point guard Milos Teodosic, who was a late scratch due to a foot injury, as well as long-term absentees Manuchar Marokishvili and Victor Khryapa, CSKA stormed out of the gate and increased its leadn minute by minute, hitting 8 of its first 12 three-point attempts. Aaron Jackson scored 10 points, including a pair of triples in the first quarter, for a 28-11 lead and then Nando De Colo took over, hitting 3 of 3 from downtown and with his 11 points helped extend it to 48-18 late in the second quarter. On the other hand, ALBA missed its first 8 three-point attempts, hitting the first one in the final minute of the third quarter, when CSKA held a 66-46 lead, and the game was already out of hand. De Colo finished as the top scorer with 22 points on 4-for-4 shooting from downtown, and Jackson scored 18 with 4 of 5 three-pointers in victory. Demetris Nichols contributed 10 points for the hosts. Reggie Redding led ALBA with 16 points plus 8 rebounds, Marko Banic scored all of his 12 points in the second half, and Cliff Hammonds netted 11 in losing effort.
First quarter: CSKA takes control from the start
Sonny Weems started things for the hosts with a basket from close range, and Andrey Vorontsevich followed it with a jumper. A layup from Reggie Redding opened ALBA's account before Vitaly Fridzon nailed a tough corner triple for 7-2. Niels Giffey made a layup for the visitors after a bounce pass from Leon Radosevic, but Jackson scored from close range, and after a layup from McLean, a triple from Jackson extended CSKA's lead to 14-6. Weems and Kyle Hines pushed the lead to 12 points from the free throw line, and after Jonas Wohlfarth scored a rare basket for the Berliners, a short jumper from Hines and a driving layup from Jackson made it 22-9. ALBA hustled, but could not come up with much against CSKA's stiff defense. Meanwhile, Fridzon buried another corner three-pointer, and Jackson hit a step-back triple as time expired, to end the first quarter with a 28-11 lead.
Second quarter: De Colo leads CSKA as margin reaches 30 points
A put-back dunk from Pavel Korobkov opened the scoring in the quarter, and De Colo hit a three for a 33-11 lead. McLean made a floater to end ALBA’s drought, but De Colo and Hines extended it to 37-13. Giffey scored inside for the visitors, but Ivan Strebkov hit another shot from downtown for the hosts. ALBA increased its tally with free throws from Hammonds, but Jackson made a driving layup and De Colo back-to-back three-pointers for 48-18 with over two minutes left in the second quarter. Redding made a layup in traffic and a long jumper for ALBA’s first back-to-back baskets, and Wohlfarth followed it with a layup to cut the deficit to 48-24.
Third quarter: With the hosts in control, Banic gets ALBA offense going
A layup from Marko Banic on one end, followed by a long jumper from De Colo on the other, got the second half started. McLean had a dunk for ALBA, and after a short jumper from Vorontsevich, McLean fed Banic for an easy layup and a 52-30 lead. Redding made a long jumper, but De Colo answered with a corner triple. Wolhfarth banked in a tough jumper, but an easy dunk from Kaun made it 58-34. With the hosts clearly in control, the pace of the game picked up. Kaun scored 4 more points, and after a layup from Banic, De Colo shook off his defender for a jumper and a 64-37 cushion. Banic scored another layup and followed it with a long jumper for ALBA. After De Colo drove for a layup, Alex Renfroe drove for a layup and Akeem Vargas nailed a second-chance triple, the visitors’ first of the night, helping cut the difference to 68-46 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: CSKA cruises to close out the game
Banic hit another jumper on the first possession of the quarter, and after Fridzon nailed a triple for CSKA, Redding made a layup-plus-free throw to get within 71-51. Nichols made a turnaround jumper, and Hines a basket-plus-foul for the hosts. After McLean’s layup, Jackson and Hammonds traded triples, 79-56. Hammonds followed it with a jump shot, but Nichols drove for a layup to keep the margin above 20 points. Jackson knocked down another three, and Hammonds hit another jumper, making it 84-60 half way through the final quarter. Hammonds continued his run of points with a steal and a fastbreak layup, but Weems nailed a three-pointer for an 89-62 lead. As the game was closing to the final buzzer, Redding and Giffey made jumpers for the visitors, but Nichols had a pair of triples for CSKA.
Thursday, November 20, 2014