CSKA Moscow remained the Group A leader by downing Virtus VidiVici Bologna 79-53 in the Russian capital on Wednesday. CSKA improved to 6-1 to stay atop the Group A standings. Meanwhile, Virtus dropped to 2-5 and needs to start winning right away to keep its Top 16 chances alive. Ramunas Siskauskas led the winners with 16 points. David Andersen added 13 points and 8 rebounds, Marcus Goree had 12 points and 9 boards, Trajan Langdon scored 12, Nikos Zisis 11 and J.R. Holden posted 10 points and dished 8 assists for CSKA. Delonte Holland had 20 points for Virtus, but nobody else reached double digits in scoring. Andersen and Goree led CSKA to a 26-18 lead after 10 minutes, and Langdon stepped up to boost the hosts' lead to double digits, 39-28. Holland and Andrea Crosariol managed to get Virtus within 39-35 early in the third quarter but Holden, Langdon and an unstoppable Siskauskas boosted CSKA's margin to 57-46 after 30 minutes. CSKA only allowed Virtus to score 2 points in the next eight minutes, as CSKA boosted its margin to 71-48 and cruised to a well-deserved win based on its outstanding defense.
Alan Anderson got Virtus going with a close jumper, as the guests held CSKA scoreless in the opening two minutes, slowing down the game tempo as much as possible. Even with that, Andersen scored in the paint and soon added his trademark triple from the top of the key for a 5-2 CSKA edge. Holden capped an 8-0 run with a layup-plus-foul and Goree soon added a put-back basket to keep CSKA ahead, 10-4. Luca Garri tried to change things for Virtus with a three-pointer, but Siskauskas scored in the low post and fed Goree for a layup. Garri continued to pace Virtus with an off-balance layup, but Andersen matched it with a turnaround jumper for a 16-9 CSKA edge. Andrea Crosariol and an unstoppable Andersen traded baskets, as CSKA used Siskauskas on Fabio Di Bella now. Roberto Chiacig followed a power layup with a three-point play, but Langdon fired in a jumper and Andersen added free throws to keep CSKA ahead, 22-16. Both teams kept trading baskets at full speed now, but Zisis followed free throws with a buzzer-beating floater for a 26-18 CSKA lead after 10 minutes.
Holland provided a highlight with a driving basket early in the second quarter, but Siskauskas answered from downtown to keep CSKA's momentum going. Holland kept trying to ignite a Virtus comeback with a put-back layup only to see Goree erase it at the other end. Crosariol shined with a great move in the low post, but Siskauskas fed Goree for a two-handed dunk, as CSKA finally adjusted its defense, not allowing any easy shots now. Goree had a big block on Di Bella that resulted in a Virtus timeout at 33-26. Langdon beat Dewarick Spencer in the low post, but Holland hit a six-meter shot to keep Virtus in the game at 35-28. CSKA kept shining in defense, as Virtus even struggled to shoot now and soon entered the foul bonus. CSKA made the most of that, as Langdon and Andersen made free throws to give the hosts their first double-digit lead, 39-28. Anderson stepped up with a power basket, as Virtus had managed not to allow more easy shots now. Meanwhile, Holland beat the buzzer with an incredible triple in front of two defenders to get the guests within 39-33 at halftime.
Crosariol started strong after the break with a power layup as CSKA had trouble adjusting its offense despite its good ball circulation. Andersen headed to the bench with 3 fouls, but Holden hit a long two-pointer for a 41-35 CSKA edge. Siskauskas drew a foul and hit all 3 free throws, as CSKA was once again its usual self on defense. Goree found space for an uncontested dunk to restore the hosts' double-digit lead, 46-35. Virtus went scoreless for more than three minutes and called a much-needed timeout. Siskauskas capped a 9-0 run with a layup but Spencer found his first points with a shot from downtown. CSKA controlled the game through its outstanding man-to-man defense, despite not finding good shots at the other end. Chiacig made free throws, but Langdon bettered them with a three-pointer to restore an 11-point CSKA lead. Siskauskas also scored from downtown before Holland stepped up with consecutive step-back jumpers. Free throws by Goree, Holland and Siskauskas fixed the score at 57-46 after three quarters.
Virtus needed a quick comeback to return to the game and the visitors improved their aggressiveness, especially on defense. Even with that, CSKA kept shining on defense and opted to use longer possessions now. Holden stepped up with his trademark mid-range jumper and then beat the visitors' zone defense with a big triple that broke the game open, 62-46, with seven minutes to go. Siskauskas capped a 7-0 run with a jumper that caused Virtus to call timeout at 64-46. Virtus had been scoreless for more than five minutes by the time Spencer fired in a fade-away jumper. CSKA opted to give quality playing time to players like Zakhar Pashutin and Andrei Vorontsevich, as the outcome was already clear. Langdon pleased the crowd with a big three-point play coming off the baseline, as CSKA stayed focused in defense even when it led by 20. Everything was said and done by that point as CSKA carried on fighting at the top of Group A.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007