Russia Stun Spain, Lithuania Come Close

05.08.2012

OLYMPICS 2012

Russia stayed undefeated with a stunning come-from-behind victory over Spain and France beat Tunisia for their third straight triumph on Day Four of the Olympic men's basketball tournament in London.

Vitaliy Fridzon, Russia v Spain; Olympic Games 2012, London
Vitaliy Fridzon led the way for Russia in their upset of European Champions Spain

Lithuania led the United States in the fourth quarter before coming up just short and falling to a third defeat in four games.

Great Britain blew a 15-point second-half lead against Australia and crashed to a 106-75 defeat.

David Blatt's Russians won all four of their outings at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Caracas and have now won four in a row at the London Games to seal first place in Group B.

Vitaliy Fridzon, just 48 hours after beating Brazil with a three-pointer in the waning seconds, had 24 points against Spain in a 77-74 Russian triumph.

Spain reeled off the first 10 points of the contest and went in front, 20-2, with 4:43 to go in the opening quarter.

Semen Antonov stopped the rot for Russia with a three-ball and Russia pulled to within 11 on a Fridzon three-pointer, only for Spain to finish the frame with a 6-0 run for a 28-11 lead.

Russia continued to battle and drew to within 38-32 with 2:28 to play in the half on a Fridzon basket but two Rudy Fernandez free-throws gave Spain a 40-32 lead at the break.

Twice Blatt's team went on top after shots by Fridzon and Timofey Mozgov and a three-ball by Anton Ponkrashov put Russia in front 56-51 with 50 seconds to go in the third quarter.

Spain hit back and went on top, 65-57, on a Sergio Rodriguez drive.

The lead went to 69-60 after Marc Gasol scored.

Russia never lost their concentration and a Viktor Khryapa shot from the arc tied the game at 73-73 with 1:01 to go.

Mozgov then dunked for a 75-73 Russia lead with 18 seconds left.

Spain's Pau Gasol was fouled after catching the ball on the low post but made just one of two free-throws.

Two Fridzon shots from the charity stripe with four seconds to go finished the game for Russia.

"This is a very important win as it gives us first place in the group," Russia's Andrei Kirilenko said.

"It's way different when you come from the group into the Quarter-Finals as the best in your group. It helps your confidence."

France had earlier won against Tunisia, 73-69, with Tony Parker scoring 22 points.

Since their opening day defeat to the USA, France have looked very good.

Sarunas Jasikevicius, Lithuania v USA; Olympic Games 2012, London
Sarunas Jasikevicius and Lithuania gave the US a scare on Saturday night

In an eagerly anticipated game, the whiff of an upset was in the air at the Olympic Basketball Arena when the United States took on Lithuania.

The Americans struggled shooting the ball and Lithuania threatened, leading in the fourth quarter.

But Team USA ended up winning, 99-94.

Paulius Jankunas dunked for an 84-82 Lithuania lead with 5:50 to go in the fourth quarter for Lithuania.

Chris Paul quickly buried a three-pointer at the other end to spark the United States on a big run to take command for good.

Linas Kleiza poured in a game-high 25 points for Lithuania.

Great Britain, meanwhile, were in perfect position to beat Australia and get on track for the Quarter-Finals but crashed to a 106-75 defeat to Australia.

A Joel Freeland three-pointer gave the Brits a 51-36 lead a minute into the third quarter but the night then turned sour for the host nation.

Australia turned up the defensive pressure and tied the game a few minutes later at 53-53 after a three-point play by Pat Mills.

The Boomers ended up outscoring Britain 30-14 in the third quarter and 40-15 in the fourth for a decisive victory that punched their ticket to the Quarter-Finals.

Mills had 39 points.


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