Alexander Martynov had a far from stellar shooting night for Russia but landed his shots whenit mattered
Russia have stolen first position in Group E with a 70-60 win over France at the U18 European Championship, avoiding a quarter-final date with Group F leader Turkey.
France looked to have the result sealed when Olivier Yao-Delon buried back-to-back threes midway through the final term, but Alexander Martynov saved the Russians from a disastrous shooting night, single-handedly winning the game with two back-breaking threes in the final three minutes.
Martynov, suffering a 2-for-13 night from the field, buried his final two attempts, the first giving Russia the lead with 2:43 and the second extending the margin to four with 63 seconds remaining.
Russia iced the result from the free throw line to drop a sinking France, loser of two straight, into Group E's second seed.
A conservative France, playing some unfamiliar faces with a playoff spot already confirmed, looked the better side for the opening three quarters, but their inability to make outside shots eventually became their undoing.
Viacheslav Fedorchenko top-scored for Russia with 16 points, benefiting from France's insistence to send him to the charity stripe after going two-for-nine from the field.
Etienne Ory led France with eight points and three assists.
Russia will face Croatia in Riga on Friday whilst France take on Spain.