CSKA Moscow head into Game three after yet another win over Fenerbahce, this time easing past the Istanbul side 78-67 on Friday. Defense was on the menu for Barcelona and Zenit went to overtime before steals from Adam Hanga gave Barcelona the game in overtime.
A barrage of threes and a quiet game from Nando de Colo were crucial as CSKA took over the game in the second quarter and dominated as Fenerbahce struggled, despite an impressive game from Marko Guduric who topped his team’s scoring with 27.
Both teams opened the encounter with tight man-to-man defense before a hit to the face took De Colo out of the game for a while to be treated. It was not the end of his game physically, but mentally, his return to the court was not the same as he could only score nine on the night with a very different contribution from that on Wednesday.
Shots from distance were an important factor as both sides got 40% from three but defense made the difference, with CSKA getting more and more aggressive in defense before the half to end it with an eight-point lead at 50-42.
Fenerbahce grew on defense after the break as they reduced the margin by boxing out to counter the size mismatch on the boards. But with De Colo kept quiet and all responsibility given to Guduric, the rest of the team relied on getting to the line and protecting the paint. CSKA however, replied with threes from Daniel Hackett (14 Pts) and Ivan Ukhov (6 pts) to seal off the game as they ran down the clock at the end of the fourth.
Overtime win for Barca
Barcelona had to take it to overtime to beat Zenit St. Petersburg 81-78 on Friday after a defensive all around performance by both sides kept the game in the balance with drama in the end giving Barca the win.
Zenit went into the lead with points in the paint, going 0/4 from three in the first quarter. The second quarter took a more aggressive tone, with fouls rotating the teams quickly.
Barca’s Nick Calathes looked cold on the night as he shot 25% from the field and got nothing to fall from three, as well as ending the night fouled out. Nikola Mirotic had a similar night with eight points but it was Brandon Davies who led Barca with 22 points and was the standout performer on the night for his side. He was instrumental as the side went from six points down to getting a six point lead after a 12-0 run in the second quarter to end the half at 38-29.
Still with a defense-first mentality, Zenit struggled from three but with their points in the paint, reduced the margin to just two points, until eventually they clawed their way back to tie the game at 48-48 at the end of the third. Tarik Black got fouled out as Pangos added a three to continue his three-point game streak, taking it up to 25 games. He then went on to tie the game at the end of the fourth to send the game to overtime.
The drama continued in overtime as it was a question of fouls as with a 3-point margin, Adam Hanga made a game-winning steal to give Barca a win to tie the series.
Following the game, Barca coach Šarūnas Jasikevičius admitted the side have put themselves in a position of having to win the next games, lauding the opposition for being hard to beat.
“It’s supposed to be difficult,” Jasikevičius said.
“We didn’t compete well (in the first game) and we dug ourselves in a hole. Now we have to keep on digging to win the next games.”
Barca guard Cory Higgins, who ended the night with 15 points echoed this insisting the games will be a fight.
“We have to go into every game as a do-or-die,” he said.