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Russia escape Venezuela to improve their World Cup placement
FOSHAN (China) - Appropriately, it was Andrey Vorontsevich on the line for two free throws with a few seconds left to seal a 69-60 win for Russia over Venezuela at the GBA International Sports & Cultural Arena in Foshan.
The power forward led a disjointed but successful effort that saw Russia jump to a 13-2 lead, only to let a scrappy Venezuelan side fight back to lead by six early in the third quarter but it was the South Americans who were down by that much when it ended. Russia stretched the lead to 10 and it never got closer than six points from that point on.
Venezuela has never beaten a European side in the FIBA Basketball World Cup in eight tries now, including their only previous meeting with Russia in 2002 (86-69).
Turning Point: Even at 42 late in the third quarter, Russia scored the last six points of the period on the way to a 13-4 run that separated the game to their favor (55-46) and they managed the game successfully from there.
TCL Player of the Game: Andrey Vorontsevich led Russia with 17 points (3-of-3 three-pointers), 9 rebounds and 5 assists.
Stats Don't Lie: Russia's defense hadn't conceded more than 20 points in the first quarter all tournament and Venezuela's 10 in the first period wasn't even close.
Venezuela had grabbed an average of 16.5 offensive rebounds each match coming into this game, the most among all teams in this year's tournament. They had 18 today.
Bottom Line: Though Venezuela hung in for much of the game, much due to their tenaciousness on the offensive boards, the Russians were too big and too strong when it counted.