VTB United League, CSKA top at Christmas

VTB United LeagueTuesday in the VTB United League saw some of the larger teams flex their muscles, particularly current five time champs CSKA Moscow with a win over Bisons Loima. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Nizhny Novgorod, two of the clubs who could dethrone CSKA got back on track with victories, both clubs have suffered patchy form of late.

CSKA Moscow vs. Bisons Loima, 99-67
With home advantage CSKA had far too much for Bisons Loima and swept the floor with the Finnish club in the Russian capital on Tuesday. The win kept CSKA top of the pile in the VTB United League and the winningest club in the competition remains on track to make it six consecutive titles with a 12-1 record.

CSKA split the workload well, while the starting five combined for 47 points, the bench managed 53 to provide a solid foundation for the win. That allowed the hosts to open a 50-43 lead at halftime. It would get better for the Moscow giant as they would open a lead of 34 points courtesy of an 18-0 run that let the hosts ease to victory. CSKA had led for their entire game.

Milos Teodosic and Nando De Colo both hit for 19 points in the winning effort.

Martin Zeno paced Bisons with 13 points, followed by Mikko Koivisto and Ronald Clark with 12 points apiece.

Enisey Krasnoyarsk vs. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 73-82
After two consecutive defeats Lokomotiv stirred back into life with a victory over Enisey that puts the club in seventh place with a 6-5 record. The Krasnodar club has suffered inconsistent form this VTB United League season so far and will be looking to kick on in the second half of the campaign.

This game was tight throughout and at the halftime split the teams were locked 40-40. Indeed, the biggest lead of the contest was 10 points to Enisey, while the hosts produced an 8 point run, the biggest of the contest. However, Lokomotiv digs deep and stuck close to cut the game off in the final act, using an 11-17 run to settle the battle.

Malcolm Delaney was inspirational in the success as he hit 25 points for Lokomotiv. Anthony Randolph plundered 15 points in the win.

Tim Ohlbrecht topped the hosts with 24 points, followed by Delroy James and Alexey Yakovenko with 11 points each.

Nizhny Novgorod vs. BC Astana, 84-80
Nizhny Novgorod snapped a five game losing streak to give the club some hope heading into the Christmas games. The club has been in torrid form after a solid start to the season and now sits eighth with a 6-6 record.

Astana made the best of the early stages with an 18-20 first quarter success and then extended to lead 35-39 through the long break. Nizhny turned the game, and potentially its VTB United League season, around with a 21-11 third frame that made sure the hosts could hold out for victory in a high scoring fourth stanza.

Victor Rudd topped Nizhny with 17 points, while Semen Antonov and Rasid Mahalbasic added 11 points apiece to the victory.

Jerry Johnson led Astana with a solid 21 point haul, while he proved an overall attacking impetus with 8 assists. Kenneth Hayes added 18 points in defeat, and Patrick Calathes had the only VTB double-double on Tuesday with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

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