Russia Too Strong Against France


France started well but came undone in the second quarter against hosts Russia and crashed to a 76-60 defeat in Saturday's ACI Trading Ltd U20 European Championship Men action.

In a battle of sides looking to climb to the top of Group C, Ian Mahinmi gave the visitors hope in the opening stages.

Recently drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, the 19-year-old Mahinmi, a 2.05m power forward, gave Les Bleuets a 16-7 lead with a pair of free throws with 1:56 left in the opening quarter.

The French were unable to press home their advantage, though, and when Egor Vyaltsev buried a three-pointer midway through the second quarter, Russia led 23-21.

The athletic Yannick Bokolo, who led France with 12 points in the contest, tied the scores at 23-23 with a dunk.

Evgeny Kolesnikov answered shortly after with a tap-in to put Russia back in front for good at 25-23.

Evgeny Pashutin's Russians held a 35-28 advantage at half-time and scored the first three baskets of the third quarter to take a firm grip on the game.

Vitaly Fridzon had 16 points to pace the Russians, who outrebounded France 41-32 in the showdown.

Russia, having also beaten Croatia, will look to complete the group stage unbeaten when they take on Slovenia in their final game on Sunday.

France, winners over the Slovenians on the first day, take on Croatia in their last group game.

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