Mike James CSKA Moscow
Photo: Euroleague Basketball

With Olympiacos coming back on the game from -25 and CSKA Moscow almost losing a game that seemed to be theirs, the Russians manage to get away with a tough 74-75 road win on Thursday night (25/2).

The Greeks couldn’t keep up with CSKA’s offensive rhapsody in the first half being down with 25 points. Shaquielle McKissic brought the missing energy back on the team, Olympiacos fought back, tied the game and even took a single point lead. Spanoulis committed the foul on Mike James and the American made 2/3 free throws putting CSKA back in front with a single point. With 2 seconds remaining on the clock, Olympiacos didn’t manage to score with Giorgos Printezis and CSKA got away with the road win.

Mike James was the top scorer for the guest with 15 points while newcomer, Iffe Lundberg added 13 and Johannes Voigtmann 14. For Olympiacos, Shaq McKissic scored a new career high of 24 points in the Euroleague with Sasha Vezenkov adding 14.

Offense was flowing freely

CSKA Moscow managed to get an early 0-6 lead on the game with Olympiacos registering their first points with Sasha Vezenkov, 4 minutes after the first whistle (3-6). Olympiacos had several chances to tie the game but CSKA’s defense didn’t let the Greeks do so. CSKA found their largest lead of the match (9-17) two minuted before the end of the first quarter, they moved the ball and found the right choices on offense. Voigtmann extended CSKA’s lead to double digits scoring 7 points in less than one minute. Olympiacos seemed to be struggling on the offensive end of the court while their defense couldn’t really stop the Russians’ creativity and Mike James who served 4 assists with 5 personal points. Kostas Sloukas with 3 free throws took CSKA’s lead down to 12 points, closing the first quarter with the Russians up by a dozen (12-24).

Dominant first half in Piraeus

Olympiacos took the difference down to 9 points early in the second quarter with Harrison’s first triple of the match. From that moment and on, CSKA Moscow started extending their lead with Olympiacos missing several offensive opportunities given. Livio Jean-Charles brought some energy on the court for Olympiacos, running on defense and scoring 4 points but that was not enough for the hosts to improve their defense. Terrific athleticism from CSKA, showing their different range of shots against the Greeks, with newcomer Lundberg and Bolomboy making a difference. Olympiacos was rushing on offense giving CSKA the chance to do their game and close the first half leading by 18 points (26-44).

Photo: Euroleague Basketball

From -25 to -10 and we got a game again

With CSKA extending their lead to 20+ points coming back from the locker rooms, everyone would have thought that Olympiacos has nothing else to give. With McKissic being the catalyst for Olympiacos, the Greeks had a 9-0 run on their effort to come back on the match (35-51). Sasha Vezenkov with the triple took the difference down to 14 points doing everything to bring Olympiacos back on the game (41-54). With the Greeks on the free throw penalty, CSKA Moscow had the chance to score from the free throw line and not let Olympiacos come any closer. The hosts had the momentum of the third quarter, forced CSKA Moscow to turnovers and come back on the match within 10 points (45-55). CSKA Moscow didn’t let Olympiacos come any closer than that and closed the third quarter leading by 10 (49-59).

Dramatic fourth quarter

Olympiacos had another 8-0 run right after CSKA Moscow was ready to extend their lead to dangerous numbers. Olympiacos came back within 8 points with Spanoulis leading the way on offense and Livio Jean-Charles bringing much needed energy on defese. Printezis with the triple and McKissic with the steal and the bucket put Olympiacos back in contention and the score to 62-65. CSKA Moscow had lost their 25-points lead reliving the matches against Olympiacos from past years. 15 unanswered points brought Olympiacos back within a single point with Kurbanov extending it to 4 points from the free throw line (64-68). Sasha Vezenkov put Olympiacos up by one with another triple and three minutes on the clock until the end of the match (69-68). Olympiacos was so close to shock CSKA Moscow again but Vassilis Spanoulis sent Mike James on the free throw line with 2 seconds on the clock, Giorgos Printezis lost the floater after that and so CSKA Moscow got away with a dramatic 74-75 win.