Sun, May 06, 2007 - Page 23 News List

CSKA's late run seals final spot

AP , ATHENS

Panathinaikos Athens' Chatzivrettas, second left, and Tony Delk, second right, fight for the ball with Serkan Erdogan, left, of Tau Ceramica during the Euroleague basketball Final Four match at the indoor Olympic stadium in Athens on Friday.

PHOTO: AFP

Defending champion CSKA Moscow used a 14-0 run late in the game to beat Unicaja Malaga 62-50 on Friday and reach the championship game of the Euroleague Final Four.

CSKA limited Unicaja to six points in the final quarter. Trailing 47-46, the Moscow club scored 14 unanswered points to win the game.

"I think we won the game because we played excellent defense," SCKA coach Ettore Messina said. "Mentally this has been a tremendous accomplishment."

Messina is looking for his fourth championship as coach.

Center David Andersen began the late rally with a short jumper and added two more to have six points in that run. Trajan Langdon, a US guard who lead CSKA with 13 points, had a key three-point play and a 3-pointer in the run.

Andersen finished with 12 points and Theodoros Papaloukas had 11, along with five steals. Andersen also had a game-high nine rebounds.

Carlos Cabezas led Unicaja with 13, but did not score again after getting cut in the face in the layup that tied the game at 41. He was the only Unicaja player in double figures.

Unicaja was making its first Final Four appearance, while CSKA is trying to win back-to-back titles for the first time in the club's history. It's in a record-breaking fifth straight Final Four and also won titles in 1961, 1963, 1969 and 1971.

The tone for the low-scoring game was set early and it was CSKA's Matjaz Smodis who scored the game's first points, nailing a 3-pointer three minutes in.

It was the lowest scoring Final Four game in the last 10 years.

In the second semi-final, Panathinaikos held off Spain's Tau Ceramica 67-53 in front of a boisterous home crowd of around 13,000 Greek fans.

The Greek side dominated for most of the game, keeping the Basques at bay on the strength of early shooting accuracy and quick passing which gave them points on the fast break.

Urged on by a few hundred fans and a brass band, Tau cut the deficit to six points in the fourth quarter but could get no closer.

The final is today.

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