By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bayern returned from down 25 – 45 early in the third period to approach 69-70 with 3:30 to play. CSKA reacted and Nikita Kurbanov hit a corner 3-pointer for the 71 – 80 following a brilliant pass by Mike James.
Vladimir Lucic answered with the same currency to keep his team’s hopes alive but on the next Bayern offense, Joel Bolomboy blocked the Serbian player’s layup attempt. Darrun Hilliard then stole the ball and made the free throws for the 74 – 82 with 44 seconds remaining. CSKA had locked the win.
James led CSKA with 27 points, seven assists and five rebounds. He and Darrun Hilliard (20 points) stepped up in light of the absence of their backcourt mates Daniel Hackett and Janis Strelnieks.
“We came out ready to play in the first half and we took care of business. In the third quarter, we let them take momentum. But we closed the game to get what we want,” James said to EuroLeague TV. The “Army Men” are now 12 – 6.
Greg Monroe had a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds for Bayern. Lucic and Josh Huestis added 17 points apiece but couldn’t avert their team’s fourth straight loss that had led to a 6 – 12 record.
Following the game, CSKA coach Dimitris Itoudis confirmed that his team is adding swingman Howard Sant-Roos.
It was crucial for CSKA to keep its cool while Bayern was making its comeback attempt for Itoudis.
“We talked at halftime and we said we had to stick to what we were doing, keeping them really low: they scored 25 points for the whole half and then they scored 27 points in one quarter,” Itoudis said. “They found a rhythm, we turned the ball over and they were finding some spot-up shots, which they made. They played at home and wanted to compete. But I think that the important thing, overall, is that we kept our composure and despite the fact that they were close, a one-point deficit, we defended well and found good solutions. And we brought home the win, which is also important at this stage of the competition, with also some injuries and some newcomers for us.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball