CSKA Survives Krasnoyarsk Test

CSKA Moscow defeated Enisey in Krasnoyarsk, 96-81. Despite a gutsy performance from the home team, CSKA was able to pick up a double-digit lead in the 2nd quarter and hold off Enisey for a 15-point win on the road.

An unseasonably warm March day (6° C) and the arrival of the reigning champs brought a huge crowd to Enisey's home arena. The club even invited the local symphony to provide in-game music.

The Army Men, however, did not bring a full roster to Krasnoyarsk, leaving behind Viktor Khryapa and Demetris Nichols (out with injuries), as well as Kyle Hines, Andrey Vorontsevich, Nando De Colo and Milos Teodosic. But CSKA was still favored against Enisey, led by Aaron Jackson, Cory Higgins and Joel Freeland.

The game was very competitive in the opening period. The visitors got production from Freeland, Jackson and Nikita Kurbanov, while Enisey stayed in it thanks to the perimeter shooting of Tony Taylor and Pavel Sergeev.

CSKA began to pull away in the 2nd quarter. Higgins sliced through the Enisey defense, helping CSKA secure a 50-40 advantage at halftime.

The Army Men maintained a comfortable lead in the 3rd quarter and Dimitris Itoudis decided to give his starters a break early in the 4th, inserting Mikhail Kulagin, Ivan Lazarev and Anton Astapkovich.

Krasnoyarsk took advantage. Aggressive defense helped the visitors mount a mini-comeback and cut the deficit to five, 77-72, midway through the 4th.

Turning Point
CSKA would not be denied. Freeland, Jackson and Higgins came back in to restore a double-digit lead, shutting down Enisey's offense and hitting several big shots. The Army Men outscored Enisey, 13-5, over the final minutes to win, 90-75.

Star Player
Joel Freeland. CSKA's British big man was his team's number one option on offense. Enisey couldn't stop him in the post as he connected on 11 of 14 field-goal attempts. Freeland ended with a game-high 26 points.

Stat of the Game
61% (35-57) - the visitors shot a terrific percentage from the field. Efficient offense laid the foundation for CSKA's win.

Enisey head coach Oleg Okulov:
- CSKA has a lot of very good players. They punished us for all of our mistakes. Despite the outcome, I'm happy with my team's effort.

CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis:
- Happy Maslenitsa to everyone! It's great that so many fans came out to support Enisey today. We were the better team today and played better in almost every aspect. We had good and bad moments in the game, but overall we controlled the course of the game. As you know, this was our 4th straight contest on the road. We flew here after an almost five-hour flight from Barcelona. That's why, with all due respect to Enisey, we left De Colo, Teodosic, Hines and Vorontsevich at home. But now it's more important to talk about who was on the court, not who was absent.