Baskonia finishes strong to beat CSKA
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz earned a hard-fought 80-70 win over visiting defending champion CSKA Moscow on Wednesday night. The win improved Baskonia's record to 4-5, while CSKA dropped to 6-3 on the season. Baskonia spent the majority of the night in front, but CSKA made runs to take slim leads, including 67-70 with 4:20 to go, but the hosts did not allow another basket, finishing the game on a 13-0 run. Tornike Shengelia paced the hosts with 22 points and 6 rebounds. Luca Vildoza netted 12 points and Nik Stauskas had 11 points plus 8 rebounds in the victory. Mike James and Janis Strelnieks scored 17 points apiece and Daniel Hackett had 12 points in the losing effort.
Baskonia scored the first 9 points of the game behind Youssoupha Fall and Shengelia. James knocked down a triple to open CSKA's account after almost 5 minutes, but a three-pointer from Stauskas extended the margin to 14-3. CSKA answered with a 0-9 run with Kyle Hines doing the damage, before Strelnieks and James heated up from the outside. Another three from Stauskas helped Baskonia to a 24-19 lead after 10 minutes. In the second, Strelnieks and Darrun Hilliard knocked down a triple apiece for the visitors, but Matt Janning netted 7 points to extend it to 33-26. Hackett and Ron Baker sparked CSKA to its first lead, 33-34, but Shengelia had a three-pointer to snap a 0-9 run and then added a three-point play as Baskonia stayed in front, taking a 45-42 advantage into halftime. Hackett opened the second half with a three to help CSKA take a brief lead, but Vildoza and Shengelia replied and Baskonia regained control, 53-48. However, the hosts were held without a field goal for more than 5 minutes and CSKA went in front on a triple by Hilliard, 54-57. Shengelia ended the drought with a three-pointer and Vildoza hit a transition three as the hosts took a 62-59 edge into the final quarter. Baskets were few and far between in the fourth quarter. Strelnieks nailed another three to help CSKA restore the lead, but Michael Eric had a big dunk for the hosts. Close range baskets from Joel Bolomboy and Hines, followed by a jumper from Hackett gave CSKA a 67-70 lead midway through the fourth. But Patricio Garino made all 4 free throws, Pierria Henry had a basket-plus-foul before Shengelia made it 76-70 with 47 seconds left and the visitors did not manage another basket the rest of the way.
CSKA was in control in the fourth quarter and Daniel Hackett nailed a mid-range jumper with exactly 4:22 to make it 67-70. But CSKA did not score again the rest of the game, failing to convert its final 11 possessions. Meanwhile, Patricio Garino got to the foul line twice to restore Baskonia's lead with 2:06 to go, Pierria Henry hit a basket-plus-foul, before Tornike Shengelia added a runner in traffic and sealed the outcome from the free-throw line.
Baskonia throws block parties
Baskonia is the league leader in blocked shots, averaging 5.1 per game. The team had 7 in this contest, marking it the third time this season Baskonia had 7 or more blocks in a single game. The rest of the league has 4 such games.
End of Buesa streak
Going into this contest, CSKA won the last four games at Fernando Buesa Arena, first beating Baskonia on the road in Games 3 and 4 of the playoffs and then surviving Final Four showdowns against Real Madrid and Anadolu Efes Istanbul, respectively.
Both teams are back in action on Friday. Baskonia stays at home to face Zenit St Petersburg for the first time, while CSKA travels to the Spanish capital to face off against Real Madrid in a classic EuroLeague showdown.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019