London, England – Vitaliy Fridzon carried over the momentum from his winning shot on Thursday and scored 24 points Saturday to lead Russia to a 77-74 victory over Spain in a matchup of unbeatens in men's basketball.
Fridzon hit the winning three-pointer in a 75-74 triumph over Brazil on Thursday. On Saturday, he made 7-of-11 shots, including a pair from beyond the arc, and also drained a pair of free throws in the final seconds to keep Russia unbeaten after four games and atop the Group B standings.
Anton Ponkrashov contributed 14 points and 11 assists in the victory, while Timofey Mozgov chipped in 12 points and scored the go-ahead basket in the final minute. Andrei Kirilenko added eight points and eight rebounds for Russia, which will close its preliminary round on Monday against Australia.
Pau Gasol scored 20 points and Rudy Fernandez added 10 for Spain, which was also coming off a one-point win over Great Britain on Thursday and will face Brazil in its round-robin finale on Monday.
The Spaniards scored the first 10 points and roared out to a 20-2 lead, but Russia clawed back and eventually took a 56-53 edge into the fourth quarter. Spain then opened the final period with a 12-1 run for a 65-57 advantage with just over six minutes to play.
Marc Gasol's bucket a few minutes later made it a nine-point difference, but the Russians answered with six straight and a Ponkrashov basket a few moments later left Russia down 71-70 with 1:39 remaining.
Pau Gasol scored on Spain's next trip, but Victor Khryapa drilled a three to tie it with a minute left. Fernandez missed from beyond the arc on the ensuing possession before Mozgov's dunk with 18 seconds remaining put Russia on top.
A foul gave Pau Gasol a chance to tie it at the line, but he made just the second of two free throws and Fridzon canned two from the stripe at the other end with four seconds left. Ponkrashov came up with a steal on the inbounds play to seal it for the Russians.
Spain led 28-11 after the first quarter and 40-32 at the break.