CSKA Moscow is heading to their 13th Euroleague Final Four in 14 seasons.
Paced by Nando De Colo’s 20 points, the Muscovites completed a 3-0 series win over Crvena Zvezda with a 78-71 win in Belgrade on Monday night.
Nikita Kurbanov and Milos Teodosic both added 12 points with the latter dishing out seven assists in the win.
We know that nothing is going to be given to us, it’s not going to be a walk in the park,” said CSKA coach Dimitis Itoudis. “Congratulations to Crvena Zvezda for this effort. They played great basketball all over the season. But at the same time I have to congratulate all the players. Despite the fact that we played with a lot of missing, important players, such as Freeland, Khryapa and Korobkov, today is the players’ victory. They showed character in front of amazing crowd and a pressure that is good for basketball.
“I have to congratulate all the players for their dedication, for being focused and going back-to-back to the Final Four. That’s not an easy thing. It might be easy for you and me to say it. But it’s not an easy thing. Congratulations to our management. All the coaching staff did a great job to go to that Final Four. And there’s a long way to go still.”
After an intense and closely-fought battle of wits, CSKA pulled clear in the third period with Teodosic and Aaron Jackson the main protagonists in the run. And despite narrowing the gap to 70-68 in the final three minutes thanks to a vicious putback slam by Quincy Miller and an 18,000-plus fanbase roaring them on, Red Star could not drag themselves to Moscow’s supreme level of team play.
“I am a bad loser, I never want to be a loser,” said Miller, who led Crvena Zvezda with 15 points.
“CSKA made a lot of big stops, a lot of big plays. We made it tough for them in the end, but they continued to play hard and played through it.”