TOP16. CSKA second victory

Mirsad Turkcan (photo M.Serbin)
In large part thanks to a new Top 16 rebounding record, CSKA improved to 2-0 in Group D by beating Cibona VIP 68-61 in Moscow on Wednesday night in a tough test. CSKA gets closer to its biggest goal this season, which is making it to the Final Four, while Cibona, at 0-2, will need to win its 4 games remaining to make it to the next round. CSKA based its win under the boards, outrebounding its opponents by 45-20. One man excelled above everyone else, CSKAs Mirsad Turkcan, who set a all-time Top 16 record with 21 rebounds, adding 15 points. Turkcans rebound total was just two rebounds shy of his overall Euroleague record of 23. J. R. Holden and Marcus Brown added 12 points apiece for the winners, as Brown also dished 9 assists. Slaven Rimac led all Cibona scorers with 19 points on 4 of 5 two-pointers, 3 of 5 threes and 2 of 2 free throws, while four other players scored 7 points for the guests.

CSKA vs Cibona VIP: 68-61

CSKA dominated the game in the early going, as Turkcan seemed to be everywhere at both ends of the court, grabbing 5 rebounds in the opening 5 minutes. Meanwhile, a three-pointer by Holden gave CSKA a 7-2 lead, but none of the hosts baskets came the easy way, as CSKA needed second and third chances to score. Rimac immediately answered from downtown and Cibona got back in the game. The guests committed 4 early turnovers, but CSKA went scoreless for almost 2 minutes, while 2 free throws by Rimac and a fastbreak layup by Marko Popovic tied the game at 9-9 after 6 minutes. Turkcan carried on grabbing rebounds while high-flying Victor Khryapa stepped up with a two-handed slam, and Brown added 2 free throws to give CSKA a 13-9 lead. However, while CSKA missed its final 8 shots from the floor, Cibona had the final word in this quarter. A layup by Jurica Golemac and a three-pointer by Popovic gave Cibona a 13-14 lead after 10 minutes.

CSKAs offensive collapse - after 3 of 15 two-pointers and 1 of 7 threes in the opening quarter - continued with 2 more scoreless minutes to start the second. A back-door basket by Josip Vrankovic extended Cibonas lead to 13-16. CSKA improved its defense, then a layup by Turkcan and a triple by Khryapa regained the local lead at 18-16. Several lead changes followed, as Cibona switched from zone to man-to-man defense to prevent Turkcan from rebounding on offense. It didnt work, as his 14th rebound of the night turned into a put-back, igniting a 6-0 run in which Sergei Panov made a left-handed layup and assisted Theodoros Papaloukas for a fastbreak slam and a 26-21 CSKA lead . After a timeout, Cibona responded with a long jumper by Rimac and a three-pointer from the top of the arc by Davor Kus, highlighing a 2-7 run which tied the game at 28-28. Papaloukas, with a fastbreak layup, gave CSKA a 30-28 lead at halftime, by which time the hosts had more offensive rebounds (15) than Cibona had total rebounds (11).

Panov became CSKAs go-to guy after halftime, scoring 5 points alone to extend the lead to 35-28. Cibona went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Golemac drilled a triple, which Brown answered with a three-point play at the other end. Both teams struggled to score, exchanging turnovers until Andrej Stimac, with a layup, made it a five-point game at 40-35. It happened to be Cibonas only basket in more than 2 minutes, while a turnaround jumper by Alexander and 5 points by Brown were enough to give CSKA a double-digit lead at 47-35. Both teams traded baskets while Turkcan returned to the floor and carried on rebounding like crazy. After Cibona had suffered 7 turnovers for the quarter, a dunk by Josko Poljak cut CSKAs lead to 52-42 after 30 minutes.

To start the last quarter, Cibona seemed intimidated by the aggressive man-to-man defense of CSKA, which used two baskets by Turkcan to keep a safe lead. Cibona seemed to wake up once Rimac drilled a three-pointer to pull his team within 7 points at 56-49. Still, Turkcan was on fire, while Rimac was the guests only consistent offensive weapon. CSKA looked for its frontcourt units, Alexander and Turkcan, who combined for 5 points, while Cibona stayed alive with a bomb from downtown by Barisa Krasic and a layup by Popovic, making the score 63-59, with less than 3 minutes to go. Brown stepped up for CSKA with a layup in penetration which Krasic answered in the other end with 38 seconds to go. Cibonas coach, Drazen Anzulovic, complained about a problem on the shot clock, and discussed the matter with the referees, believing CSKA was given 6 extra seconds on the possession. The discussion turned into a double technical foul called on Cibonas bench, and Brown drilled 3 of 4 free throws, enough to seal the win for the hosts.

The head coach of CSKA Dusan Ivkovic:

- I think that it was very strange game. I did not expect something like it in the preparation to this game. The first quarter was like football. We had low percentage of the field shots in the first half. The game was not under our control this moment. My players lost the confidence. The key today was players desire to win. And the big role of our win in our game in rebounds. I want to congratulate my players. Tomorrow we will continue our practices to the Saturday derby with Khimki.

The assistant coach of Cibona Tomislav Mijatovic:

- We had many problems before this game. We lose several players because of the virus. We lost game in rebounds. We had not good big guy under boards today. They beat us in the third quarter. Later we tried to come back but we could not. CSKA is very good team. Army team, Maccabi and Benetton are my main favorites to the championship of Euroleague this year.

What happened on the last second of the game?

- Our head coach note to the error of the shot clock. The first technical foul was right, but not the second. I was far from that place, but I think that the second foul is not right. We could do something with the advantage of 4-5 points: 3-pointer, rebound, fast attack.
Panov vs Golemac (photo M.Serbin)
Turkcan vs Rimac (photo M.Serbin)
Victor Khryapa (photo M.Serbin)
J.R.Holden (photo M.Serbin)
Papaloukas vs Popovic (photo M.Serbin)
Marcus Brown and Slaven Rimac (photo M.Serbin)
Alexander vs Poljak (photo M.Serbin)
Duda Ivkovic (photo M.Serbin)
Drazen Anzulovic (photo M.Serbin)
Victory (photo M.Serbin)