by Dan Casey
|Viacheslav Fedorchenko of Russia could not be stopped by Montenegro as he poured in 31 points|
Montenegro showed their battling qualities again, but Russia held on for a 91-85 win in Pardubice.
Montenegro will move to the Relegation Round and hope to preserve Division A status, but they shouldn't be ashamed after another close game.
Montenegro trailed by 12 at half-time, but Stanko Latkovic (21 points) and Luka Savic (19 points and 8 rebounds) led a fourth-quarter rally. Ultimately, turnovers and missed shots cost the Montenegro team down the stretch.
Russia were thankful for another 30-point display from Viacheslav Fedorchenko, who followed 33 points yesterday vs Serbia with 31 points today.
Big man Pavel Sizov added 23 points and 8 rebounds, his reliable jump-shot often helping his team in times of crisis. Alexander Gankevich scored 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds and 3 steals, igniting the first-half surge that pushed Russia ahead.
Russia led by only 2 points, 29-27, after an exciting first-quarter with both teams pushing hard and hitting many shots.
Russia's superior passing and inside strength saw them slowly edge ahead in the second quarter to take a 55-43 lead at half-time.
But Montenegro came back with a 32-point third quarter to set up a tense finale. Russia trailed 78-80, but a 9-0 spurt led by Fedorchenko, Sizov and Sergey Zhulkov gave them enough points to secure victory and a place in the Qualifying Round.