SPORTS

CSKA overpowers Olympiakos

CSKA, targeting its record sixth consecutive trip to the Final Four, overpowered Olympiakos 83-73 at the Greek team’s packed Peace and Friendship Stadium last night to level their best-of-three Euroleague quarterfinal at 1-1. The quarterfinal series’s decider will be staged in Moscow next Wednesday. Olympiakos, needing victory last night to reach the Final Four for the first time since 1999 – two years after being crowned European champion for the first time in the club’s history – began explosively to lead 27-15 at quarter-time. But the Russians remained composed in the do-or-die – for them – affair to take the lead just after the halfway mark in the second quarter. The visitors led 34-32 at the 16th minute and from that point on began to control the game. CSKA’s advantage was extended to 40-34 a minute later. The Russian club held a 42-38 lead at halftime after outscoring Olympiakos by 27-11 in the second term. Greece star Thodoris Papaloukas, who played a poor game for CSKA on Tuesday, rebounded last night to orchestrate the Russian team’s strong showing, even though he scored just seven points. Compatriot Nikos Zisis, the Russian team’s other Greek star, also figured prominently in CSKA’s victory. CSKA kept up the momentum early in the third term to lead by 49-38 within the first minute of play. The visitors registered 18 points in the quarter’s first four minutes to lead 60-44. Throughout the third term, Olympiakos, missing the excellence produced by Lynn Greer in last Tuesday’s surprise victory in Moscow, struggled to reduce CSKA’s double-digit lead. A three-point shot not long before the end of the third period, one of six from seven attempts for the Russians during the third period, gave CSKA a commanding 14-point lead, 70-56, at three-quarter time. CSKA, which maintained its double-digit lead until late in the final term, slowed the game down and led 78-65 with just over two minutes to go and finished it off with an 83-73 score. Ramunas Siskauskas was the Russian club’s top scorer with 20 points. Qyntel Woods topped the list for the hosts with 19 points.