• ACI Russia

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

without reply.

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

Monday's setback.

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."


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