With Mike James putting on a show for another game (17 points and 5/5 2-point FG), CSKA Moscow got a much-needed home win over Valencia, 84-75, on Thursday night (29/10). Valencia fought against the defending champions, played great defense at times and showed that no team will beat them easily.
Mike James was the top scorer for the Russians with 17 points with Will Clyburn adding another 15. For Valenciα, Nikola Kalinic finished the game with 15 points, with Louis Labeyrie adding 10. For the Spanish side, youngster Jaime Pradilla scored a career-high of seven points at just 19 years of age.
In the first quarter, both teams were finding their way to the basket pretty easily (4/4 FG), promising an exciting match. For approximately five minutes in the game, none of the teams could really build a safe lead, with Valencia’s defense limiting CSKA’s offensive ways. The two teams ended the first quarter with CSKA leading by a single point after Will Klyburn’s free throws (17-16).
CSKA started the second quarter with a big three from Semen Antonov (20-16) with Mike James scoring another one (23-16). Voigtmann extended CSKA’s lead even more, with a big three and a foul, to build a ten-point lead for the Russians (26-16). Valencia fought back making it a five-point game with a three pointer from the 19-year-old Jaime Pradilla (28-23), five minutes before the end of the first half. Klemen Prepelic tied the game for Valencia with a big three coming from ten points down (30-30). With Mike James in charge, CSKA ended the first half leading by nine points (44-35).
The defending champions started the second half with a three-pointer from Daniel Hackett for their largest lead of the night (47-35). A three-point shot from Dubljevic and a three-point play from Labeyrie brought Valencia back to a seven-point game (49-42). Despite Valencia’s turnovers, the Spanish club managed to stay in the game and make it a five-point match with Labeyrie in double digits (55-50). Right before the end of the third quarter, Valencia made it a single point game once more with Mike Tobey (59-58), showing that CSKA will not have an easy night against them. CSKA closed the third quarter with a big three from Johannes Voigtmann keeping a four-point lead (62-58).
In the fourth and final quarter, Daniel Hackett’s big three extended the lead for the Russians (65-58) putting some pressure on the Spanish side. Voigtmann and Hilliard, with two consecutive threes, brought the difference back to double digits (71-60) forcing Valencia to a time-out seven minutes before the end of the game. Valencia never managed to come back on the game with CSKA holding their 10-point difference and finishing the fourth and final quarter, 84-75.