Balanced Samara Too Much For Plannja


CSK-VVS Samara would need a massive collapse not to reach the Qualifying Round of the EuroCup after storming to a 91-73 triumph at Plannja Basket in the first leg of their Elimination Round 2 clash.

Sergey Demeshkin scored 15 points to pace five players in double figures for Samara, who captured the title in last season's EuroCup Challenge.

Alex Scales and Taras Osipov each added 14 points while Marque Perrry hit for 12 and Evgeny Vornov had 10 for the winners.

The Swedish league champions Plannja are making their return to European basketball for the first time since playing in the Regional Qualifying Round of the 2003 EuroCup Challenge.

David Visscher's team shot just 35% while allowing the Russians to shoot 54% from the floor.

Oladapo Ayuba led Plannja with 17 points and nine rebounds while former Swedish national team players John Rosendahl and Hakan Larsson added 16 and 15 points, respectively.

The Swedes scored the first seven points and jumped ahead 14-4 as Ayuba collected seven of those points. Demeshkin stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer to start a 19-2 run to close the first quarter ahead 23-16.

Rosendahl trimmed the margin to 26-24, but a Demeshkin long range shot sparked a 9-0 run. Larsson and Terry Williams Jr. both knocked down three-pointers to make it 35-30 and the lead was down to four points a number of times, including after Daniel Oppland's three-point play just before the half-time buzzer for a 44-40 score-line at the break.

It was only 44-43 after Larsson's long ball. But then the Russians began to run away with the game. Voronov scored nine points in a 19-4 surge for a 63-47 advantage. Plannja cut the deficit to 13 points but Samara again led 72-54 going into the fourth.

Williams' three-ball opened the final quarter and trimmed the deficit to 74-57, and it was still a 15-point game with seven minutes left when Valeriy Tikhonenko's team put away the Swedes for good with a 12-2 run for an 88-63 lead.

And the margin grew to 26 points - 91-65 - with less than two minutes remaining before the Swedes scored the final eight points, with hopes of making up the rest of the 18-point margin in Russia.

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