James fires CSKA past Baskonia
CSKA Moscow withstood a fast start and lightning finish from KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz to record a 94-90 home victory on Friday night. Baskonia was unstoppable in the opening minutes and led by 9 points midway through the first, but a 10-0 run sent CSKA into the lead. The home team raced to a 19-point margin in the second half before a late flurry from Baskonia put the outcome back in doubt. Mike James led the way with a season-high 33 points, while Darrun Hilliard added 14 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting and Johannes Voigtmann scored 10. Youssoupha Fall paced Baskonia with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Pierria Henry added 18 points and 9 rebounds. Matt Janning (12), Tornike Shengelia (12) and Shavon Shields (11) and also reached double figures in defeat. The victory lifts CSKA to 14-6 for a three-way tie in third place, while Baskonia remains in the bottom half at 7-13.
Shields drained a couple of triples and Henry added another as Baskonia made a fast start, while Hilliard and James answered from deep at the other end. James made a couple of close-range buckets but Henry and Tornike Shengelia produced dazzling finishes for a 12-21 Baskonia lead. Joel Bolomboy and Howard Sant-Roos pulled CSKA closer, and James hit a triple to complete a 10-0 run for the host’s first lead, 22-21. James netted another triple and Semen Antonov converted an offensive rebound for a 27-25 edge after ten minutes. Nik Stauskas and Hilliard traded triples early in the second quarter, before Ron Baker and Kostas Koufos scored inside at the host stayed ahead. Voigtmann and Baker struck from the corner to make it 44-38, before the half ended at 52-46 after a close-range strike from Micheal Eric and a buzzer-beating tip-in from Voigtmann. CSKA opened the second half with a triple from Hilliard and a fastbreak dunk from Nikita Kurbanov, briefly opening up a double-digit lead, but a Shields three-pointer helped bring Baskonia back. Voigtmann and James protected CSKA’s lead from deep, and free throws from James stretched the advantage to 69-56. James penetrated to score at the end of the third, which finished 75-58 as Baskonia made just one field goal in the last five minutes. Henry’s three-point play gave the visiting team hope early in the fourth, but James and Hilliard hit three-pointers and free throws from James made it 86-67. A trio of close-range scores from Fall and a deep strike from Janning pulled it back to 88-79 inside the final two minutes, and another Janning deep ball made it 88-83 with 50 seconds left. Kyle Hines snapped the 0-12 run before Fall made a three-point play for 90-86, but James held his nerve from the foul line and that was enough.
Visitors start and finish strong
Baskonia made a remarkable start on offense, converting 8 of its first 11 field goal attempts to score 21 points in exactly five minutes. The Spanish side then lost its way on offense before mounting a late charge with 23 points in the last 4:49, coming close to overturning a 19-point deficit.
Former trio punish Baskonia
Mike James led CSKA’s comeback by scoring 13 points in the first quarter. He was one of three former Baskonia players in home team’s starting five, along with Darrun Hilliard and Johannes Voigtmann, and they were the only three CSKA players to reach double figures. Together they combined for 60.6% of their team’s points.
2,000 up for James
With his haul of 33 points, James has now passed 2,000 points in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. He now has 2,013 points in 132 games, at an average of 15.3 points per game.
CSKA stays at home for a visit from Valencia Basket next Thursday, and on the same night Baskonia welcomes the other team from the Russian capital, Khimki Moscow Region.
Friday, January 17, 2020