|Yes! Artem Komolov celebrates as Russia keep their campaign alive with a win over France|
Russia emerged victorious 65-61 over France on Monday, after a highly balanced encounter that could have gone either way, and registered their first win in Second Round Group F at the Sportland U20 European Championship.
Both sides now stand at 1-2 in the group standings and maintain options of advancing to the quarter-finals.
Les Bleus however will have to overcome the crucial loss of their captain Livio Jean-Charles, who picked up a knee injury in the Saturday clash with the Czech Republic and has returned to France for treatment.
On Monday, both Russia and France were so tactically disciplined that they suffocated each other during long stretches and their relatively high final output is only down to offensive prudence and careful shot selection rather than defensive weakness.
Neither side found any score in the open court (they combined for only seven fast-break points throughout the game) and both had to go trough their entire play-book many times over in order to find a way to their opponents' basket.
The only time a team led by as much as six points came in the first few minutes, as France scored the first three baskets of the night, and from then on the two rivals stayed too close for comfort until midway through the final frame.
France appeared to finally make a breakthrough when Boris Dallo split the Russian defence and made a lay-up that put Les Bleus ahead 55-50 with 6:51 left on the clock.
Almost four minutes would elapse though before France scored again and Denis Zakharov drilled a triple with less than two minutes remaining to give the lead to Russia, 60-59.
France wasted their final two possessions as Hugo Invernizzi was called first for travelling and then for charging and Vladislav Trushkin sealed Russia's win with two shots from the free-throw line, seven seconds from the final buzzer.
Andrey Loginov kept Russia close in the first half and finished with 13 points, Aleksandr Gudumak had 11 points and six boards and Alexander Zakharov chipped in with 10 points.
Mouhammadou Jaiteh was immense for France and collected a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds while Dallo added 15 points and six boards in defeat.