Russians edge Argentina for basketball bronze

LONDON: NBA-bound Alexey Shved scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to power Russia over Argentina 81-77 on Sunday to win the Olympic men's basketball bronze medal game.

The bronze medal was the first for Russia playing under their own flag in the sport since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Shved, a 23-year-old guard who will play for the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves next season, sank a 3-pointer in the final seconds to give Russia a 79-77 edge.

Andres Nocioni missed a 3-pointer for Argentina and after a scramble for the loose ball, the Russians found Vitaly Fridzon for an uncontested fast break layup that sealed the triumph.

Argentina went home empty handed after having won Olympic gold in 2004 and beating Lithuania for the bronze medal in 2008.

Andrei Kirilenko, who will join Shved at Minnesota next season, scored 20 points while Fridzon had 19 for Russia.

NBA star Manu Ginobili, the top scorer in the Olympics, led Argentina with 21 points while Nocioni added 16 and Carlos Delfino had 15 in a losing cause.

Shved scored every Russian point in a 7-2 run late in the third period that produced a 71-66 lead, but Nocioni and Ginobili sank back-to-back 3-pointers to put Argentina on top 72-71 with 2:45 to play.

Shved and Delfino traded three free throws each but Russia went back on top when Fridzon sank two free throws with 56 seconds remaining to his team ahead 76-75.

Ginobili, who had been flattened to the court by a Victor Khryapa shoulder blow only moments earlier, answered with a reverse layup, only to have Shved finish seizing command of the game with NBA style.

A Kirilenko slam dunk opened a 12-2 run that put Russia ahead 61-50 with 1:16 remaining in the third period.

But Argentina replied with a 12-1 spurt, Manu Ginobili scoring five points in the span that pulled the South Americans even at 62-62 with 7:02 to play, setting up the dramatic finish.





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