Beşiktaş to take daunting test against CSKA in Euroleague
CSKA Moskow’s Andrey Vorontsevich (R) reacts as Beşiktaş center Gasper Vidmar (L) grabs the ball during the two teams’ first meeting in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. The game ended in a huge 85-58 defeat for the Black Eagles. AFP photoBeşiktaş visits CSKA Moscow tonight in a battle between two teams already through to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16.
For the Turkish champion, who won four of its eight matches, the third place finish is certain in the Group D, but a match against one of the continent’s top teams is always an important test.
With a 7-1 record and a game left against Group D leader FC Barcelona Regal, CSKA will keep its challenge for first place in the group with a victory.
The match in Moscow will also be crucial for Beşiktaş who wants to restore some pride after last week’s devastating 78-48 home defeat against Barcelona Regal in Istanbul.
During the two teams’ first meeting in Istanbul, CSKA Moscow beat Beşiktaş 85-58, but the Russian giant’s coach, Ettore Messina, said his team will not take the Turkish champion lightly.
“The result of the first game we played in Istanbul does not show the real difference between the two teams especially taking into consideration that the score was close for at least 20 minutes,” Messina told Euroleague website. “I think the game will be difficult. Over past two weeks we improved in many aspects of the game and we want to continue improving. Top 16 starts in three weeks, the crunch time is coming so we have to be ready.”
Beşiktaş should wary of the fact that CSKA has players in top form over recent weeks. Guard Milos Teodosic was named last week’s Most Valuable Player after racking up 19 points and 9 assists in an excellent showing against Brose Baskets.
The recipients of his excellent dishes this season have included, forward Sonny Weems, who had 18 points and six rebounds when CSKA beat Beşiktaş last month.
On that occasion, it was Weems, Nenad Krstic and Andrey Vorontsevich who ran the show from the frontcourt, and so the opposing big men Damir Markota, Gasper Vidmar and Vladimir Dasic will have to be at the top of their game to avoid a repeat of that performance.
Eyes on Jerrells
For Beşiktaş, the main scoring threat will be Curtis Jerrells, who is sixth in Euroleague’s scoring ranking with averaging 17 points per game.
Patrick Christopher is another talented backcourt player for the visitor, and the duo are joined by Serhat Çetin in a quest to shut out the likes of Teodosic, Dionte Christmas and Aaron Jackson.
“I think Beşiktaş has a good team,” Christmas said. “Though we won it by big margin the opponents have improved as we are recently. So I expect it to be a difficult game.”