BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbian guard Milos Teodosic helped six-time Euroleague winners CSKA Moscow secure a 92-85 home win over Olympiakos Piraeus on Friday to avenge three painful defeats by the Greek side.
Red Star Belgrade were cheered on by tennis world number one Novak Djokovic as they beat Cedevita Zagreb 94-74 to rack up their fourth win in five games in Thursday’s stand-out fixture.
On the same night, holders Real Madrid, who are chasing a record-extending 10th title in Europe’s premier club competition, enjoyed an impressive 93-82 success at Khimki Moscow.
CSKA carved out an eight-point lead in a disjointed first half, with both teams committing a flurry of turnovers.
They maintained their advantage in a much more entertaining second period, with Teodosic running the show against his former club to finish on a game-high 21 points with five assists.
The outcome gave CSKA some measure of revenge for losing to Olympiakos in the 2012 final as well as in the 2013 and 2015 semis, with the Russian side firmly on course to reach this season’s knockout stages.
“It was a very important win for us as we improved our Top 16 record in the section to 5-2,” the 28-year old Teodosic told Euroleague television.
“Olympiakos are a serious team and we knew they would come here to play tough basketball, but we responded well.”
The Top 16 features two groups of eight, with the top four from each pool advancing to the best-of-five quarter-finals.
The winners qualify for the May 13-15 Final Four in Berlin.
Red Star, aiming to reach the knockout stages for the first time, were backed by Djokovic, who was treated to a standing ovation by the club’s fans as he entered the court before the game.
Accompanied by his two younger brothers, Djokovic enthusiastically supported Red Star throughout the contest and he was mobbed by home players after they blew away Croatians Cedevita.
“The best tennis player in the world, I saw him and I am delighted he was here to support us,” said Red Star’s American forward Quincy Miller, the game’s stand-out performer with 22 points.
“He should carry on doing what he does for himself and Serbia, he is doing a great job.”
Real, who have had a patchy season and lost to Khimki twice in the preliminary group stage, looked more like European champions as Mexican center Gustavo Ayon shone with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis