CSKA Moscow used a third-quarter defensive crackdown to execute a turnaround from 37-31 halftime deficit on the way to a 64-74 win over Fenerbahce Ulker on Wednesday night in Istanbul, Turkey. Matjaz Smodis scored a season-high 21 points to lead the defending Euroleague champs to their fourth straight win as CSKA improved to 6-1 at the midway point of the season. CSKA took a half-game lead in Group C over Winterthur Barcelona, which hosts Aris TT Bank on Thursday night. Fenerbahce dropped to 2-5. It was Fenerbahce that was the stronger side in the early going, but CSKA held the hosts to10 third-quarter points to go on top. Back-to-back Damir Mrsic threes got Fenerbahce within 3 early in the fourth quarter, but Smodis scored the game's next 7 points as CSKA put the game away for good. Theo Papaloukas was perfect from the field on the way to 15 points and 8 assists, while Trajan Langdon added 8 points and 7 rebounds. Mrsic led Fenerbahce with 18 points on 6-for-10 three-point shooting, Eddie Badsen had 12 points and 5 assists in his Euroleague debut, Kaspars Kambala added 11 and Mirsad Turkcan finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds against his former team.
CSKA got off to an impressive start with strong defense and offensive rebounds to take an early lead. Langdon drilled a three-pointer after just 13 seconds and when David Vanterpool penetrated inside for a layup, CSKA led 2-7. A Turkcan three followed by new forward Basden's first Euroleague points on a baseline jumper tied things up. Defense prevailed for the next few minutes until Mrsic drilled a three-pointer. After another Basden jumper, Mrsic hit from downtown again to gave the home team its first lead, 15-14. Kambala and Omer Onan led a defensive charge that held CSKA to score just 3 points in the last five minutes of the first quarter and Onan dished an assist of Turkcan that gave the hosts a 17-15 lead after 10 minutes.
Fenerbahce started the second quarter feeling good as Mrsic made his third three of the game from the left side to extend the Fenerbahce lead to 21-15. Papaloukas and Smodis tried to keep CSKA in the game but Fenerbahce's defense got tougher minute by minute. On the other end, young Hakan Demirel put the home team up by 9 after he grabbed a rebound and moved outside to score a three. Kambala’s effective inside game kept Fenerbahce ahead despite CSKA's resurgence. Kambala made another layup over Alexei Savrasenko to put Fener up 8 points in the final minute, but Thomas Van Den Spiegel's dunk with 5 seconds left in the period ended the first half with Fenerbahce ahead 37-31.
CSKA came out with increased defensive pressure both inside and outside. Langdon's jumper cut the difference to 39-37 after a few minutes and a J.R. Holden three from the right side of the floor made it 44-43 midway through the period. A minute later, Smodis put CSKA ahead and the visitors remained ahead for the rest of the quarter, using three pointers from Papaloukas and Holden to cap a 10-20 third quarter and go into the last quarter leading 47-51.
A panic-stricken Fenerbahce tried to comeback, but things didn’t work out. CSKA remained strong on defense, especially inside with Van Den Spiegel, who found the recipe to stop Kambala. Savrasenko's layup made it 47-55 and David Andersen made one of two free throws to increase the lead to 9. But two quick threes from Mrsic ignited the Fenerbahce fans as the hosts closed to within 53–56. But Smodis was the answer for CSKA. He scored 7 points in a row, including a pair of three-pointers to make the score 53-63. He added free throws to increase the gap to 13 points. Holden's jumper at with two minutes remaining gave CSKA its biggest lead, 55-69 and the visitors held on for their fourth straight win, 64-74.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006