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MOS vs VAL Squad details

CSKA Moscow: Joel Bolomboy, Mike James, Ivan Ukhov, Semen Antonov, Janis Strelnieks, Johannes Voigtmann, Andrey Vorontsevich, Will Clyburn, Daniel Hackett, Mikhail Kulagin, Kosta Koufos, Darrun Hilliard, Nikita Kurbanov, Kyle Hines and Ron Baker.

Valencia Basket: Quino Colom, Vanja Marinkovic, Jordan Loyd, Maurice Ndour, Alberto Abalde, Louis Labeyrie, Sam Van Rossom, Mike Tobey, Brock Motum, Bojan Dubljevic, Guillem Vives, Fernando San Emeterio, Joan Sastre, Millan Jimenez, Hilmar Henningsson, Aaron Doornekamp, Tomas Pavelka, Alonso Faure and Guillem Ferrando.

Pre-game breakdown

These teams faced each other in Round 1, in a highly-anticipated showdown between last season’s EuroLeague and EuroCup champions. CSKA gave Valencia no chance, downing the Spanish powerhouse 71-96 at La Fonteta.

The Army Men had an optional practice on Tuesday and normal practice on Wednesday.

Injured Will Clyburn and Janis Strelnieks stay out.

Pre-game quotes

Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA head coach:
We played against Valencia long-long time ago in the first round. And they are totally different team, they play different basketball, they are more efficient, they have deep roster with a lot of good players on every position. They may use different lineups, going big or small, like every Spanish team they like to run. This is their strength along with rebounding and athletic abilities. It is a respectful opponent that requires our attention for 40 minutes.

Nikita Kurbanov, CSKA forward:
The big margin of our win in the first game of the season should not fool anyone. Valencia had some players injured and they improved a lot the quality of their game. They fight, they run and they jumped into Top 8 in the standings. So we are set to play very seriously as we are facing playoff-level team.

“Relativity” connections

Valencia swingman Fernando San Emeterio and CSKA guard Mike James were teammates at Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz during the 2014-15 season. 

Johannes Voigtmann and Aaron Doornekamp were teammates at Fraport Skyliners from 2014 to 2016.

Ron Baker and Maurice Ndour played for New York Knicks and its G-League affiliate Winchester Knicks in 2016-17 season. 

Important numbers

Coach Itoudis has used 10 different players in his starting lineups this season. Only Nikita Kurbanov has started every game.

Mike James has made at least 1 three-point shot in 13 straight games. He ranks fifth this season with 2.9 three-point shots made per game.

James has scored in double figures in each of his last 18 games. He is this season’s leader in scoring with 21.5 points per game.

James has recorded a performance index rating in double figures in 17 of his last 18 games. He ranks second this season in average PIR with 22.0 per game.

Kyle Hines has blocked at least 1 shot in six straight games. Kyle Hines ranks third all-time with 227 blocked shots.

Hines ranks second all-time with 556 offensive rebounds. Felipe Reyes is the all-time leader with 695.

Hines ranks sixth all-time with 935 two-pointers made. Mike Batiste is fifth with 949.

Hines ranks seventh all-time with 1,240 rebounds. Mirsad Turkcan is sixth with 1,287.

Kyle needs 8 more steals to reach 200 for his career.

Johannes Voigtmann has made at least 1 three-pointer in each of his last six games.

Nikita Kurbanov has made 10 consecutive free throws.

Darrun Hilliard has made 10 consecutive free throws.

Janis Strelnieks ranks fifth all-time in free-throw accuracy at 91.2%.

Hackett needs 14 rebounds to reach 500 for his career.

Past matchups

Wins/losses: 3-2
2010-11 Euroleague Regular Season
Valencia – CSKA: 82-57 (-25)
CSKA – Valencia: 73-63 (+10)
2017-18 Euroleague Regular Season
CSKA – Valencia: 94-67 (+27)
Valencia – CSKA: 103-99 (-4)
2019-20 Euroleague Regular Season
Valencia – CSKA: 71-96 (+25)

Next man up worked for Valencia

At the start of the week, on Monday, Valencia took off on a long trip to Russia without its two centers, Mike Tobey and Bojan Dubljevic. The latter alone is among the best EuroLeague performers this season, worth 14.4 points (ranks eighth) and 6.9 rebounds (fourth) per game, and an average 18.4 index points (ninth).

Well, five days later, depleted Valencia has two more wins on its tally. After downing Khimki Moscow Region on Tuesday, Valencia survived allowing 18 offensive rebounds while holding off Zenit St Petersburg 81-86 on Friday night, to improve its record to 10-10 in seventh place in the standings.

"We had a lot of problems with rebounds," coach Jaume Ponsarnau admitted after the game. "But we lived through that situation with good passing and a good mentality, and in the end we won the game."

That mentality best showed in three-point shooting. Valencia hit 11-for-17 from three-point range, and that 64.7% accuracy set a club single-game record. Eight different Valencia players made at least one three-point shot, allowing the team to never trail in the second half despite Zenit repeatedly getting second-chance attempts.

"We are 14 guys, and when one man is down somebody else needs to step up," said big man Maurice Ndour after being one of those guys who did step up. He had 11 points, missing just one shot the entire night, and also contributed with 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks for a career-high PIR of 23.

Among others to step up, Sam Van Rossom delivered 8 assists, Vanja Marinkovic netted 14 points in 13 minutes, and Brock Motum scored 12 in 16 minutes. Meanwhile, Aaron Dornenkamp shot 3-for-3 from long range, including two key triples in the final minutes to seal the victory, Valencia's sixth in eight games which have catapulted a team that started the season 0-5 firmly into the playoffs conversation.