EUROBASKET: RUSSIA TEE UP FRENCH SEMI

Russia ousted Serbia to take the last semi-final spot at EuroBasket in Vilnius – they’ll now meet France.

Russia 77 Serbia 67

Russia chalked up a ninth consecutive win in Lithuania to claim the last semi-final spot and set up a clash with France on Friday evening.

Andrei Kirilenko finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds as the 2009 finalists were dispatched into a play-off with Greece for an Olympic pre-qualification spot.

Kosta Perovic shaped a critical 7-0 run as they stayed in touch at 34-27 heading to the locker rooms.

Things improved further after the re-start as Serbia rattled off 11 of the first 16 points including a three by Milan Macvan to get to within a point at 39-38 and ask questions of Russia.

But despite 20 points from Milos Teodosic, the Serbs fell away in the third and couldn’t hit back.

France 64-56 Greece

France were forced to rely on a fourth quarter flurry from Tony Parker to shake off Greece and advance into the semi-finals in less than impressive style.

But the Greeks were left to rue missed chances as their own dreams evaporated in brutal style.

Up 15-4 in the first quarter, Greece were held to a single score in 4 minutes as Nando de Colo ignited a 10-2 run and although, in a scrappy second period, no side could gain any traction, a dunk by Ioannis Bourousis put his side 31-27 ahead at half-time.

Their advantage grew to 39-32 in the third and early in the fourth, their cushion remained at five. But Parker stepped up, sparking a 16-5 burst that put France in control..

And although the Greeks came within 56-54 with two minutes left, Les Bleus held on.

 

Lithuania 80 Slovenia 77

A nation mourned when Lithuania exited EuroBasket in the quarter-finals last night. Now they can look forward to the chance of playing in the Olympics next summer after rebounded to beat Slovenia 80-77.

It wasn’t what the hosts wanted from their own tournament but the consolation victory secured at least sixth place – good enough to book a spot in the qualification event for London 2012 next year.

With both teams playing less than 24 hours after their medal hopes ended, Mantas Kalnietis gave the Lithuanians a commanding 44-33 lead at the break.

It looked gone for Slovenia but a 7-0 run applied some pressure and two minutes into the final quarter, Matjaz Smodis handed them the lead. And their threat looked real when a three-pointer from Sasa Ozbolt put Slovenia 68-65 up, the Zalgiris Arena was on edge.

However Lithuania regained their composure and a tense finale, a three-pointer by Kalnietis proved decisive as Goran Dragic failed to force overtime from long range.

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