Russia Rebound to End On High Note

20 September 2009
By David Hein

Game Summary

Turning Point: After Russia used eight three-pointers to open a 14-point mid-second quarter gap, Fridzon drained two more and three foul shots in a 12-2 third quarter spurt as Russia surged ahead 63-47. Turkey did not get closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Hero: Fridzon hit one big shot after another the entire game and gave his teammates confidence in their shooting as well.

Stats: Russia made 16 of 24 three-pointers in the game.


Russia rebounded from their disappointing loss in the final qualifier for the 2010 FIBA World Championship to knock off Turkey 89-66 to claim seventh place at EuroBasket 2009.

Vitalii Fridzon buried seven three-pointers in scoring 26 points and leading five Russians in double figures in Russia's final game as 2007 reigning champions.

Anton Ponkrashov had 16 points, nine assists and four rebounds. Aleksey Zozulin also each had 16 points, Nikita Kurbanov added 13 while Sergey Monya chipped in 11 points in helping Russia shoot 16 of 24 from long range.

"This was a great finish. That was the Turkish national team. We beat them bad. And that's a good team. They came to win. They didn't want to lose. We played a great game. We got a great performance from just about everybody," said Blatt, whose team must now hope for a wild card to play next summer in Turkey.

"I felt this was an excellent performance, a very respectful showing and something to look forward to for the national team. That is what I had hoped."

Turkey finished eighth with four straight losses to close the tournament despite 24 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks by Omer Asik. Semich Erden added nine points in a losing effort.

"We finished our competition in eighth place. We fought, we were ready to go. We played the first five games very well, but losing the other games was very hard," said Turkish coach Bogdan Tanjevic.

"We lost ambition to play down the stretch. We finished under the level we wanted to. But overall I am satisfied with the performance of this team."

Asik scored four points in helping Turkey jump out ahead 9-0 in the first three minutes. But Russia used the long ball to get back into the game and build a lead.

Zozulin and Fridzon both nailed two three-pointers in the middle of a 23-7 run for a 23-16 lead. And Zozulin's three-point heave from about 30 feet went in at the buzzer for a 26-18 advantage after one quarter.

The Russian barrage continued in the second half with Zozulin and Fridzon both hitting again and Anton Ponkrashov joining the party with a triple to make it 37-23.

Engin Atsur hit a long ball of his own to bring Turkey back into the game and Asik scored eight points the rest of the quarter as the Turks closed within 51-40 at the break.

Turkey scored the first five points out of the locker room but Fridzon sandwiched triples around a Sergey Monya three-ball and then made three foul shots to extend the lead to 16 points, 63-47.

Turkey answered with the next eight points but still trailed 68-59 after three periods.

Asik refused to let Turkey go down without a fight scoring six points in the fourth quarter. But the Russians were just too motivated and too hot from long range with Fridzon nailing two more treys in the fourth quarter. And the lead swelled to 23 points.

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