Russia will play in the final of the ACI Trading Ltd U20 European Championship Men in Chekov following their defeat of Serbia & Montenegro on Saturday.
Russia powered to victory against their opponents in a contest in which they led from start to finish, and barely looked stretched by the challenge offered to them by Serbia & Montenegro.
Serbia & Montnegero had problems putting the ball in the basket the whole game, and never more so that in the opening quarter. After 8 minutes, they had just 4 points on the board and trailed by 11, 15-4.
It was only a three-pointer by Ivan Maras and lay-up and foul from Vladimir Micov which stopped the contest from turning into an early rout (17-10 after 10 minutes).
The remainder of the game saw Russia's lead fluctuate between 6-14 points, but their advantage was never reduced to less than a comfortable 6 points.
Vitaly Fridzon, the hero of Russia's comeback victory over Italy, was once again at the top of his game. He scored 17 points and was always there with a big basket when Russia's command of the game seemed to be slightly slipping.
It was Fridzon's strip of Uros Tripkovic and fast break dunk which finally sealed the contest wtih 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter (61-49).
Defense was a key factor in Russia's win.
Russia targeted Tripkovic and Luka Bogdanovic as the players to stop and they executed their strategy to perfection.
Fridzon gave Bogdanovic fits on defense with his speed in the first half and on offense, the 202 cm forward failed to find his touch from the outside. He shot just 2/8 for the game and finished with a tournament low 5 points.
Russia also out-rebounded their opponents 39-26 with Nikita Kourbanov grabbing 10 boards.
Tripkovic was the only bright spark for Serbia & Montenegro, who shot a collective 38% from the floor and 58% from the free throw line.
Tripkovic scored a game high 22 points and threatened to rally his side in the fourth when he hit 3 consecutive jump shots. But without any support, the threat soon fizzled, as did Serbia & Montenegro's chance of victory.