By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
It wasn’t a one-man show for the winners, as Johannes Voitgmann added 13 points, Darrun Hilliard has 11, and Kyle Hines also scored 10, but it was James who led the “Army Team” to victory, making even a crucial shot with 20 seconds left while Zenit had managed to make it a four-point game (82-74).
With CSKA leading 84-78, Hines stole the ball, and James made two free throws to seal the deal.
“It was tough,” said James after the game. “They are a good team. They got new energy because they got a new coach. We needed to come out and win. We haven’t been playing the best basketball of late, so it was good for us”.
Austin Hollins, with 28 points, had his best EuroLeague game yet, Tim Abromaitis added 13 points. However, they didn’t have reliable support with Gustavo Ayon, scoring just four points and grabbing eight rebounds.
CSKA remains a contender for the fourth spot and the playoffs home-court advantage with an 18-9 record, while Zenit is at the bottom of the standings with 7-20.
“We were consistent”
For coach Dimitris Itoudis the bottom line was the team effort of CSKA that produced efficiency throughout the game. “There were a lot of keys,” CSKA coach said. “We were consistent, winning all quarters and tying the last one. There were a lot of details. The fact that we changed our defense, it worked well, especially in the third quarter, when we kept them to 15 points. Congratulations to my players, congratulations to the team.”
Zenit coach Xabi Pascual added: “I think we played the way how we have to play. We kept to our game plan for 40 minutes. At the beginning of the third quarter, CSKA took control of the game. It was crucial in the first 3-4 minutes at the beginning of the third quarter when CSKA took advantage and we had to play from behind the rest of the game. But we were there, we were fighting and we were playing until the end. We have to continue”.
Photo credit: EuroLeague