13 years ago, at the same stage of competition, we had a duel between Olympiacos Piraeus and CSKA Moscow to gain a spot for the Final Four in Madrid Zaragoza. Yes, it was in Spain also 13 years ago. But in 1995, the story around the series was another one.
Olympiacos had the better record in that time with the performances of his stars Alexander Volkov, Eddie Johnson and Panagiotis Fassoulas. And so the two decisive games of the Best of three series were played in the Peace and Frienship Stadium after CSKA destroyed Olympiacos by 30 points in the first game. Olympiacos came up with a first win at their home and everything was ready for the decisive game.
But this game was one for the books. Not less than 7 of the 12 CSKA players had to go to hospital before the game with serious stomach problems. The team officials claimed that they had drunk from some water bottles that Olympiacos has given team. The result was that CSKA could only setup 5 players for the game from which only 2 were real starters: Igor Kudelin and Evgeny Kisurin.
And even with only five players, the Russian team was still there at halftime when the score was 37-32. But after 25 minutes, Kudelin got his fifth foul and CSKA had to continue to play with four players. Still CSKA remained in the game but when after 35 minutes, Alexey Vadeev got his fifth foul too, the resistance of the Russian team was broken and Olympiacos went for the Final Four. At least, the Greek coach Ioannidis show some kind of strange “respect” to the CSKA squad when he took off 2 players for the last minute to finish the game on a 3-on-3.
Still, there are some questions that remain after this game. Why has there never been a real clarification of this case? Why has Igor Kudelin, one of the craziest three point shooters of European history ever, not taken 1 shot from behind the arc? What happened to Alexander Volkov after game 2 that he did not play in the decisive game? Did he drink the same water than the Russians? Why is the Euroleague not mentioning this story as we have a re-game this week? Are there some skeletons in the Euroleague closet?
Well, we will probably never know. So here you can check the original boxscore of the game and for the nostalgic readers, we have a little tribute video to Igor Kudelin.