08/03/1998 21:29:04 Basketball-Russia beat Greece to underline title credentials
By Dave Thompson
ATHENS, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Russia underlined their world basketball title
credentials with an impressive 60-48 victory over hosts Greece in a second round
group match on Monday.
The Russian victory ended the Greeks' unbeaten run of four games and stunned
the capacity crowd in the 15,000-capacity stadium roaring their favourites on.
Sergei Babkov had an outstanding game for the Russians, top scoring with 18
Many of them came at a critical period in the second half when the score
went from 43-38 to Greece to 52-43 for Russia -- a devastating 14 point spell
Despite the defeat, Greece are safely through to the quarter-finals along
with Russia and Yugoslavia and still hold a clear chance of the title, despite
But the Russians, runners-up in 1994, and beaten only once here, by
Yugoslavia in overtime, are in sparkling form and their confidence will have
received a massive boost after beating Greece on home territory.
Greek coach Panayotis Yannakis said: "We made a lot of mistakes at critical
moments...and they changed the whole complexion of the game.
"We have already succeeded in achieving our first goal (getting to the last
eight), now we move on to our second."
Russian coach Sergei Belov said: "It was a really tough game and we won
because we were more patient."