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15 Jan, 2009 10:44

Serbs hit Euroleague Top 16

In Euroleague basketball CSKA Moscow slipped in a rare home defeat to Partizan Belgrade in their final game of the group stag

The Serbs edged a tight match by just three points, winning 66-63 to join CKSA in the last 16.

For CSKA there was little to play for coming into their match with Partizan as Ettore Messina's men had already qualified for the top 16 over a month ago.

The situation couldn't have been more different for Partizan – the side from Belgrade needed victory to put them through to the next round.

However, the home side didn't get off to the best of starts.

CSKA's shooting early on was wayward, allowing the visitors to move into the lead. Serbia’s Slavko Vranes, standing at 2.28 metres tall, proved to be a particular handful.

The Army men did have their moments – a three pointer from Planinic being one of them, as they went into the second quarter trailing by 18 points to 14.

Things did start to improve for CSKA in the second quarter – Shishkauskis put the hosts into the lead for the first time.

Partizan continued their good work and right on the buzzer they netted one more basket to go into the half time break with a slender one-point-lead.

CSKA finally began to step up their game in the third, opening up a sizable advantage for the first time in the game.

Erazem Lobrek had a great game – he sank a triple, and would finish with a game high of 23 points.

However, the side from Belgrade was still in with a chance of victory, as they trailed by just two points with only ten minutes to go.

The final quarter could have gone either way, but in the end it was Partizan who wanted victory more, and they sealed their place in the top 16, by just the slenderest of margins.

CSKA slipped in their 66-63 defeat, making it their third loss in their last five games.

CSKA made the top 16 several weeks ago, and despite this set-back against Serbia, they are still be one of the major contenders to win what could be their third Euroleague crown in four years.