CSKA clip Maccabi 84-80 as late comeback just falls short

CSKA clipped Maccabi Tel Aviv 84-80 after a furious fourth quarter comeback by the Yellow & Blue just came up short. After an even first quarter, Dimitrios Itoudis’s squad pulled away thanks to Will Clyburn’s fine play to go into halftime up 51-33.

CSKA looked to be in full control of the contest throughout the second half as newcomer Iffe Lundberg, Darrun Hilliard and Mike James controlled the pace. But Tyler Dorsey and Othello Hunter led a frantic final frame to pull to within 82-80 with 13 seconds to go but free throws by Toko Shengelia sealed the win.

Dorsey led Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s team with 20 points (5/7 from 3), Hunter added 14 points and Angelo Caloiaro chipped in with 9 points in the loss. Will Clyburn was the game’s high scorer with 21 points, Darrun Hilliard added 17 points, Iffe Lundberg scored 12 points and Mike James chipped in with 10 points and 6 assists in the win.

Scottie Wilbekin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Dragan Bender and Darrun Hilliard traded triples to open up the first quarter while Toko Shengelia added points in the paint for CSKA as Scottie Wilbekin and Omri Casspi found points for Maccabi Tel Aviv but trailed the visitors 12-10 midway through the frame. Nikita Kurbanov hit a corner 3-pointer after a nice back and forth passing play with Mike James, Joel Bolomboy and Ante Zizic each scored while Omri Casspi continued to fill the basket, Chris Jones and Tyler Dorsey added points as did Michael Eric and Will Clyburn as the period ended all knotted up at 23-23.

Will Clyburn – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Clyburn opened the second quarter with points while Jones answered at the other end as Eric put down a monster slam and James scored a layup, Dorsey countered with a 3-pointer as Iffe Lundberg did the same at the other end to give CSKA a 32-28 lead with 6:18 left in the half. Clyburn with free throws, a fast break, dunk and layup was a one man wrecking crew for Dimitrios Itoudis as Lundberg went from downtown, Hilliard with a deuce and James with a 4-point play sent the visitors into the lockerroom ahead 51-33 after twenty minutes of action.

Darrun Hilliard – Photo Credir: Dov Halickman

Hilliard began the second half just as he did the first with a corner 3-pointer, Dorsey went from deep at the other end but Shengelia with a nice basket in the paint kept CSKA in front 61-41 midway through the third quarter. Dorsey with a jumper went in off the iron, Caloiaro scored as well but Eric put points in the paint and Clyburn dialed up long distance to give the Russians a commanding 68-52 advantage heading into the final frame.

Elijah Bryant – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Hunter with free throws and points in the paint got the Yellow & Blue off and running but Lundberg hit his third triple of the game, however a 3-pointer by Caloiaro at the other end cut the CSKA lead to 71-61 with 8:17 left in the fourth quarter. Bryant with a deuce inside was quieted by another 3-pointer by Lundberg, Sandy Cohen went from downtown but back to back buckets by Clyburn kept Maccabi at bay down 78-68 with 4:09 to go.

Othello Hunter – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Hunter once again scored from the charity stripe, Dorsey went from deep, Cohen with points but he gives up on two wide open chances from deep, turns over the ball and Hilliard punishes Maccabi at the other end with a corner triple to keep CSKA in the lead 81-75 with 2:38 left. Hunter put in a layup, Dorsey scored a 3-pointer but free throws by Clyburn and Shengelia iced the 84-80 victory.

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