Panathinaikos Claims Third Spot After Double OT Win

Overturns 22 point deficit as Final Four host CSKA Moscow comes away empty-handed.

MOSCOW - Final Four host CSKA Moscow hoped to overcome the humiliation of its semifinal defeat to Tau Vitoria with a consolation third-place finish in the warm up to the championship game yesterday. But the Russian side threw away a 22-point third-quarter lead as Panathaikos came back to win 94-91 after double overtime.

Marcus Brown and JR Holden pushed CSKA to a 50-28 margin in the third quarter, but Dimitris Diamantidis, Ibrahim Kutluay and Michael Batiste led a 23-2 run that put the Greek side back in front, 63-61, with under 7 minutes to go.

The lead changed hands several times before Batiste hit a 3-pointer to give Panathinaikos a 78-73 lead with less than 30 seconds left. Brown then hit from downtown and Theo Papaloukas dunked off a midcourt steal by Holden to send the game to overtime, 78-78.

The first overtime period was locked at 84-84.

With the score at 90-89 to CSKA in the second, Antonio Granger missed two shots from the line, Jaka Lakovic made one of two for Pana for a 90-90 tie, and Diamantidis stepped up with a critical steal that turned into a basket-plus-foul with 10.8 seconds to go. Sergei Monya and Batiste followed with one of two apiece from the line, while Zakhar Pashutin missed the game-tying three leaving the Final Four host empty-handed.

Mike Batiste paced Panathinaikos with 28 points, all but 4 of them after the half, and pulled down 10 rebounds. Ibrahim Kutluay added 19; Diamantidis finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals; and Jaka Lakovic contributed 15 points and four steals.

For CSKA, Marcus brown had 21 points, Demos Dikoudis 17, David Andersen 14 and Antonio Granger 11.

"We wanted more, but the third place is also a good result for us. We leave Moscow with mixed feelings because we lost the semifinals but won the last game." said Panathinaikos guard Diamantidis.

"After the 25th minute, we didn't keep our mind on the court. It was somewhere else. We played stupidly," said CSKA guard Theo Papaloukas.

The only consolation for the host came in the Euroleague Junior Tournament, which it claimed with a resounding 97-64 victory over Zalgiris Kaunas.