CSKA Struggles in Defense Against Ural

Euroleague Final Four host CSKA Moscow steped up its preparations for the tournament as it took a 2-0 lead over Russian champion Ural Great in their Superleague quarterfinal series over the weekend.

CSKA, which faces Tau Vitoria for a place in the Euroleague championship game, rested center David Andersen in game one and made a poor start on defense, conceding 29 points in the first quarter, before coming back for a 104-91 win.

"We were terrible in defense and we certainly didn't play the kind of team game I would have liked to see," said CSKA coach Dusan Ivkovic.

Antonio Granger paced CSKA with 20 points, Alexey Savresenko added 14 and Marcus Brown 13 as Moscow came back strongly after the half to win the opener.

Yesterday's game ended 96-84 to CSKA, but Ivkovic was disappointed again as this time his side struggled on defense in the final quarter, conceding 32 points. Ivkovic rested Brown, while Andersen played 26 minutes, scoring 21 points and bringing down 7 rebounds. Zakhar Pachoutine and Granger added 14 points a piece.

Ural Great was without Israeli forward Sharon Sasson for both games.

Tau Vitoria coach Dusan Ivanoivic said yesterday that his team was planning to pull off a sensation against CSKA come Friday.

"Our results prove that we are a very strong team and have earned our place in the Final Four. We have been improving steadily over the past couple of months and we can definitely beat CSKA Moscow. We have had a several very tight encounters with them over the past two years. We have no injury worries and we will show our usual fighting spirit. We are a team that never surrenders.

Tau forward Arvydas Macijauskas said in an interview with the Russian press yesterday that the fact that CSKA was the favorite to reach the final played in his team's favor.

Macijauskas also recalled the tight games between the teams, saying that Tau had made mistakes which allowed CSKA to win, but that it would not happen this time around.