January 2, 2015 / 8:23 PM / 4 years ago

Real and CSKA victorious as Barcelona stutter

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Euroleague royalty enjoyed mixed fortunes in the opening round of the second group stage as Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow ground out tough road wins while Barcelona slid to a shock 80-70 defeat at Alba Berlin on Friday.

Eight-times winners Real registered a commanding 79-72 victory over Red Star Belgrade and CSKA beat Fenerbahce Istanbul 84-81 in overtime, with both teams silencing frenetic home support.

Sergio Rodriguez scored all of his 12 points in the second half and Rudy Fernandez claimed 11 of his 15 in the third quarter for Real who repelled an early Red Star onslaught and then held off a late rally in front of 20,000 fans in the Belgrade Arena.

“It was a great game of basketball played in a fantastic atmosphere. I have to congratulate my players who stayed focused for the full 40 minutes and produced a massive effort,” Real coach Pablo Laso told a news conference.

“We knew how difficult it is to win here and the victory came as a result of very good defense in the first half and flowing offense in the second.

“The 14-0 run in the third quarter was crucial and tonight’s display will give us the confidence to keep improving because it’s a long road to the Final Four.”

CSKA, winners of six Euroleague titles, prevailed in a tit-for-tat battle in Istanbul after six of their players ended in double-scoring digits.

Former Toronto Raptors guard Sonny Weems and muscular forward Kyle Hines led the way with 13 each, Serbian playmaker Milos Teodosic scored 12 with Sasha Kaun, Andrey Vorontsevich and Nando De Colo collecting 10 apiece.

Roared on by their fans, Fenerbahce came close to upsetting the Russians but playmaker Andrew Goudelock and shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who combined for 35 points, lacked the support their rivals had.

Barcelona, who have two titles in Europe’s premier club competition and finished the preliminary group stage with a 9-1 record, were stunned by Alba’s American quartet and Croatian Leon Radosevic who scored 70 points between them.

Having squeezed into the Top 16 featuring two groups of eight teams, Alba came up with their best performance of the season with Barcelona’s Brazilian guard Marcelinho Huertas a lone beacon of light for the visitors with a game-high 23 points.

Editing by Tony Jimenez

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