Russian Fail To Play For Full 40 Minutes

22 September 2005
By Simon Wilkinson, PA Sport

Russia coach Sergei Babkov felt inexperience had cost his side dear on Thursday night in the EuroBasket quarter-final against Greece.

Their medal hopes were extinguished with a poor second half performance as the Greeks battled back from a big first-half deficit to win 66-61.

"I think we had the initiative in the first quarter, but then we lost this," said Babkov after the game. "Maybe it was because it was due to our inexperience."

Andrei Kirilenko and his fellow frontcourt mates dominated the low post in the early going and threatened to run away from the Greeks.

But the Russians lost their impetus after the intermission and got away from what made them so successful in the first 20 minutes when they led by as many as 11 points.

They went from an intimidating team on the low blocks to a side which launched far too many three-pointers and as a result, crashed to defeat.

Russia were a mere three of 20 from the arc in the second half, which made the Greek fightback much easier.
"When my players started missing, they couldn't keep their emotions in check," Babkov said.

"I can sum it up that we have a lot of things to work on.

"Maybe we were too rusty after a three-day lay-off. But at the end of it all, it was the players' inability to handle their emotions that cost us the win and we couldn't have been victorious with that kind of display."


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