CSKA Moscow used the VTB League to stretch out a midweek defeat in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. The 8-times (six consecutive) champs eased passed Tsmoki Minsk in Belarus and keep pace on the teams at the top of the standings. Elsewhere on Sunday in the VTB League, BC Astana stunned high-flying Zenit St. Petersburg in a demolition performance.
Tsmoki Minsk vs. CSKA Moscow, 83-93
CSKA started the game in a fine touch and used an 18-32 to build a lead that Minsk could never reverse for the remainder of the contest. The hosts certainly tried, winning the second act 19-18 to make it 37-50 through the long break. However, CSKA went again in the third quarter, scoring 16-22 to extend the advantage to 53-72, which all but killed the game. Tsmoki Minsk rallied in the fourth frame with a 30-21 run, but it was too late to change the result. Nando De Colo topped CSKA with 15 points, but the game-high haul went to Devon Saddler with 23 points for the losing effort. On this win, CSKA is now at second place with a 13-2 record, just behind Unics Kazan.
BC Astana vs. Zenit St. Petersburg, 87-64
Zenit St. Petersburg made the long trip to Astana hoping to equal CSKA’s record and stay amongst the chasing pack. However, Astana played arguably its best game of the season to crush Zenit. The loss damages Zenit slightly, but the team remains in the mix. As for Astana, it rises to 10th place with a 4-10 record. Yes, this was only the club’s fourth VTB League win of the season, but it was a good one. Astana held a 44-42 lead through halftime, but really exploded in the second half. The hosts won the third act 21-12 before finalizing the result with a blistering 22-10 fourth quarter.