CSKA Moscow took charge of its VTB United semi-final series against Unics Kazan with a low scoring 61-65 road win in Game 2. It was CSKA’s second away victory in Kazan, setting the defending champions up to snatch the series at home and reach the final.
Kazan faces an uphill struggle in stopping CSKA Moscow reaching the championship series, where the club will be aiming for a third consecutive VTB title. In the other game of the night, Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius squared its series with a moral boosting 75-78 road win over Nizhny Novgorod. The Lithuanian club will surely be delighted to be leaving Russia with the series tied, with games in Vilnius to come.
Unics Kazan vs. CSKA Moscow, 61-65
CSKA used a strong opening to the game to take control and set a pace for the rest of the game, the Moscow club looked good in defense as it stopped Unics at 9 points while scoring 19 points. Kazan regrouped in the second frame and started to restrict CSKA Moscow, cutting the champions’ supply line to steal the quarter 15-10. At half time the score was 24-29 in favour of CSKA. An extremely close and low scoring third quarter did little to separate the teams, but Moscow extended its lead by 1 point to 36-42 after 30 minutes. The game finally opened up in the fourth quarter as Unics chased the deficit set by CSKA. The hosts won the frame 26-23 but could not take a win in front of its home fans.
Sonny Weems found his touch to 22 points, while Milos Teodosic repeated his good performance in Game 1 with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Andrew Goudelock was the best of the bunch for Unics Kazan as the Eurocup Player of the Year scored 19 points whilst also adding 3 boards and 2 assists.
Nizhny Novgorod vs. Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius, 75-78
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius overcame Nizhny in the other VTB League game to tie the series, but the Lithuanian club had to work hard for the success. Things looked good for Rytas in the first quarter as the visitors raced into 16-22 lead at the first break. The lead was short lived as Novgorod responded with impetus in the second frame to win the quarter 27-15 and hold a lead of 43-37 at halftime. The back and forth game continued as the visitors outpaced Nizhny in the third stanza to retake the lead after 30 minutes (59-60). A nervy closing quarter produced high tension as the hosts pressed to retake the lead, but Lietuvos held on to win the period by two points to secure the victory.
Juan Palacios had another strong game for Vilnius, recording 30 points and 6 rebounds.
Semen Antonov paced Nizhny with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists.