By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
One day after getting his first “MVP of the Round” this EuroLeague reason, CSKA Moscow guard Daniel Hackett put a strong bid to win it back to back.
Hackett scored a season-high 27 points in 26 minutes and grabbed five rebounds as CSKA beat ASVEL Villeurbanne 90 – 83 to register its second consecutive win. The Italian veteran also reached the 2000-point mark over his career in EuroLeague.
“It’s a pretty cool accomplishment to reach 2,000 points,” Hackett said. “I want to thank all my teammates from my past teams, all the coaches who had the patience to guide me through this journey. You don’t do it alone, you do it with the help of teammates, and I’m very happy to reach this goal with this jersey on my chest.”
With 1:40 to play, Hackett also delivered a crucial 3-point play to put CSKA up 88 – 81 after ASVEL cut a 12-point deficit to four in three minutes. ASVEL’s top scorer (17 points, six rebounds) Marcos Knight, scored a basket but committed an offensive foul with 27 seconds remaining. On the other end, Marius Grigonis hit a pair of free throws to secure CSKA’s win. The Army Men, that were again without leading performer Will Clyburn, went up to 12-7 while ASVEL suffered its eighth loss in the last 10 games to fall to 8 – 10.
ASVEL was more than competitive and held a short lead during multiple moments throughout the game’s very close first 30 minutes. The French side was up 59 – 61 in the last seconds of the third period before CSKA increased the level of its defense to go on a 10-0 run and eventually get an 80 – 68 advantage with 4:34 to go.
Alexey Shved added 17 points and Marius Grigonis scored 16 for CSKA. Elie Okobo finished with 15 points, five assists (also five turnovers) for ASVEL while James Gist had season-highs 14 points and eight rebounds.
Despite the loss, ASVEL coach TJ Parker was satisfied with the effort his players made.
“It was a good game,” Parker said. “A couple of possessions, they made some big shots. It’s a big team, they made the stops we needed to, but at least we fought to stay in it, and we came back to 6 down. It’s a good game for us, but we didn’t come out with the win.”
Something is changing
CSKA registered its second straight win in a span of two days after a three-game stretch that included a home defeat by 21 to Unics Kazan, a loss to an extremely shorthanded Real Madrid plus a hard-earned victory over ALBA Berlin. Dimitris Itoudis sees this week’s performance as a sign of that his team is once again returning to form.
“A back-to-back game, we were expecting it would be physical,” Itoudis said. “ASVEL was coming here without having a game one due to the postponement, so energy was required. Everybody was needed, each and every one who stepped on the court gave something. We had some moments of difficulty, but overall we managed to control the game when we realized what we had to do defensively and we got some good open looks. We expected it to go to the last moments, congratulations to the players, they really deserve it. It seems that we’re turning a corner and that is what makes me happy, the unity of the group. Our team is going to find a way to turn the corner, so these players deserve the applause.”