Shane Larkin was only 6 years old the last time Anadolu Efes Istanbul defeated CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital. Vasilije Micic was only 5. That backcourt duo helped the Turkish champion end its 21-year losing streak at CSKA on Tuesday and claim its first victory over CSKA in Moscow since the turn of the century.
Larkin scored 23 points with 4 assists and 2 steals and Micic tallied 19 points, 5 assists and 2 steals in Efes's 80-82 victory. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak against CSKA, which dated back to Efes's 63-60 victory at home in the 2012-13 Top 16 on February 22, 2013. That streak included the 2019 EuroLeague championship game as well as an 81-80 thriller in Round 15 of this season. CSKA also beat Efes 78-80 in Turkey in last year’s regular season.
"The most important thing is the victory today because many times we lost in the last seconds against [CSKA] and today luck was on our side," Micic said.
"It's big to be able to come here where they're playing great and get a win. It feels good to get a win and they've beaten us a few times in a row now including last year in the championship, so this one feels good," added Larkin.
Efes's two stars were just young kids the last time the club beat CSKA in Russia. Petar Naumoski scored 36 points while playing all 50 minutes in a 98-105 double-overtime victory in the EuroLeague eighthfinals on March 4, 1999. That Efes team also included Hidayet Turkoglu and Mirsad Turkcan.
Neither Larkin nor Micic were even alive the last time Efes defeated CSKA in regular time in Moscow as that win dates back to February 2, 1993, in the 1992-93 European Cup group stage. Ufuk Sarica tallied 26 points, Naumoski scored 23 points and Larry Richard collected 16 points and 22 rebounds for the winners.
Long-time Efes fans very well may remember those two historic victories. But Larkin and Micic made sure that the current generation of Anadolu Efes Istanbul fans also has a memory of their team beating CSKA in Moscow.