By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Semen Antonov contributed a career-high-tying 16 points for CSKA, Will Clyburn added 16 points as well while Nikola Milutinov grabbed 13 rebounds to go with his nine points. Despite the absences of injured Tornike Shengelia, Daniel Hackett and Johannes Voigtmann, the Russian side led from near start to finish and held an advantage of around 20 points for most of the second half en route to a third straight win.
“We played better than before,” Shved said. “We moved the ball much better and started feeling each other. I think we played good today, all four quarters. This is the reason why we won. We needed to start well in the third quarter because sometimes we have problems, and tonight I think we started well. We were up 6-8 points and played great defense. Actually, we played well the whole game and we are happy with the win.”
Panathinaikos, that was missing captain Ioannis Papapetrou, was unable to counter CSKA’s offensive strength, especially on the perimeter (14-28 3-pointers for CSKA, 7-25 for Panathinaikos). Okaro White had a EuroLeague career-high 19 points and Jeremy Evans dropped 15 points for the Greens. George Papagiannis posted 14 points plus nine rebounds and Nemanja Nedovic scored 14 of his own while grabbing five boards.
“First of all, congrats to CSKA,” Panathinaikos coach Dimitris Priftis said. “They played a great game, mostly offensively. The main problem for us was our defensive attitude. We had not enough energy for this level of game. No contact, no energy, no activeness, so we [gave them] a lot of open shots. They had a very good three-point [shooting] and that was the main problem.”
After falling behind 77 – 54 early in the fourth period, Panathinaikos responded with a 2-11 run in an effort to make the game a competitive affair again. Milutinov delivered a 3-point play and then Antonov and Clyburn connected for five straight points to trim their opponents’ hopes for a comeback.
With 1:44 to play, Shved hit a triple for the 92 – 75 to completely push back Panathinaikos. The Greek team is now 3-10.
CSKA Moscow coach Dimitris Itoudis saw his bench players rising up to the occasion in light of their sidelined teammates and gave them all the credit for the win.
“First of all, congratulations to our players, to our team,” Itoudis said. “You asked me before the game what I had to tell you about the roster. We didn’t know who was going to be able to be here. As you can see, Jojo (Johannes Voigtmann) was not here, Toko (Shengelia) was not here and Dani Hackett was not here. But as always, what’s important is who is here, and the players that played the game, they gave a great show and I congratulate them from my heart. In general, we were in control of the game either when Panathinaikos chose to play man-to-man or zone. We had people that were creating wisely but we were playing good defense as well. Even though we did not manage to keep them low on the two-pointers, I think in their key players, we were there guarding their three-point attempts, especially Nedovic and Macon, who can hurt you. And generally, we controlled the game, so I am very pleased with their performance. We got strong in the third quarter. The first unit that opened the third quarter and the second unit that followed, with different types of defenses that we used, they kept the rhythm and scored when we wanted to, and I think we deserved to win. Thank you to the fans. To be continued! I hope to have more healthy players!”