CSKA Moscow survived Zenit St Petersburg at home (83-81) and earned a commanding 2-0 lead in the VTB League semi-finals.
With 1.8 seconds to go, Zenit attempted to tie the game and force overtime. But, Kyle Hines blocked Gal Mekel.
Sergey Karasev missed the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer and the Muscovites sealed the deal.
CSKA Moscow took control of the game and led for the majority of the night; they stood tall in the end, despite the visitors’ late effort to turn things around.
Will Clyburn led the winners with a game-high 19 points. Three more players scored in double figures for the hosts.
On the other hand, Codi Miller-McIntyre had a team-high 14 points for the losing squad.
Game 3 of the best-of-five series will take place in St. Petersburg on Tuesday (28/05). If CSKA Moscow win, then they will sweep the series and qualify for the VTB League Finals.
If they make it to the Finals, the Muscovites will face the winner of the Khimki vs Unics Kazan series.
The VTB League title is only a matter of prestige for CSKA at the moment. They have already had a tremendous season, after claiming the EuroLeague title.
Concurrently, they are under a 10-year contract with the Euroleague, so their participation in the competition is guaranteed.
On the other hand, Khimki and Unics Kazan will fight tooth and nail to reach the Finals.
Khimki has the upper hand, after defeating Unics in Kazan and tying the series (1-1). The two clubs will clash in Game 3 in Moscow on Monday (27/05).
Whoever wins the series will have the opportunity to fight for the VTB League title. Most importantly, though, they will secure their spot in the 2019/20 EuroLeague season.
Even if they lose the title, they will have already clinched their spot in the top-tier European competition.