By Eurohoops Team/ email@example.com
ALBA Berlin beat the odds and CSKA Moscow, 93-88, getting off the mark in impressive fashion Friday. The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Round 4 major upset was attached to a solid defensive effort, especially in the second half.
Simone Fontecchio went for 20 points, nine of those coming in the second quarter. Maodo Lo followed with 15 points. Marcus Eriksson dialed in three shots beyond the arc and finished with 13. Peyton Siva added 12 more. The fifth double-digit scorer, Luke Sikma was key down the stretch summing 11 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
“I thought we did a good job of sharing the ball, attacking and making some shots,” mentioned Siva, “We played our offensive style, we were able to get up and down and run, so credit to our team for staying in there and pushing the pace. We went out there to play with the ambition to win. We got smacked in the last couple of games but today we wanted to go and play with ambition, heart and try to get the win.”
Team effort in defense largely helped the German club recover from the last-minute scratch of Johannes Thiemann. Kresimir Nikic was out as well. Players available contained multiple offensive options, everything Dimitris Itoudis threw at them. Grabbing 14 offensive rebounds, including two from Sikma in crunch time, was a bonus going a long way to the hosts dropping to 2-2.
“We are very happy with our first win. We played very good defense against a great team and we passed the ball well on offense,” noted Fontecchio after punching in his EuroLeague-high in points, “We played our game, our style. It was very tough because they’re a top team in EuroLeague but we did a great job especially on defense and rebounding. We didn’t have a few guys in the center position today but we did a good job.”
Nikola Milutinov was back, but Semyon Antonov and Janis Strelnieks remained sidelined. The Serbian center in his EuroLeague debut with CSKA registered four points without attempting a field goal. Mike James posted 27 points and Will Clyburn 25.
“Even though in the first half we shot the ball with the best percentages so far – 75% for threes and 64% for twos – I went into the locker room telling my players that was not the way to perform because they already had 8 offensive boards and we turned over the ball 8 times,” pointed out head coach Itoudis, “Unfortunately I was proven right.”