London, England – Jose Calderon led a second-half rally to lift Spain to a 67-59 victory over Russia in the men's basketball semifinals of the London Olympics.
Calderon scored 12 of his 14 points after halftime for Spain, which is back in the gold medal game for the second straight Olympics. The Spaniards lost to the United States four years ago in Beijing, and are set for a rematch on Sunday after the Americans downed Argentina in the second semifinal.
Pau Gasol finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds in the victory, while Rudy Fernandez added 11 points. The Spaniards roared back from a 31-20 halftime deficit and avenged a 77-74 loss to Russia during round-robin play last week.
Sasha Kaun scored 14 points in defeat, while Andrei Kirilenko contributed 10 points and eight rebounds. The Russians will play Argentina for bronze on Sunday.
Spain battled through a dismal first half and trailed by 11 at the break, but rallied and tied it at 46-46 after three. Anton Ponkrashov's three-point play to start the fourth again put Russia ahead, but Spain followed with a 9-0 run to move in front for good.
Calderon's three gave the Spaniards a 51-49 lead and Marc Gasol scored inside to cap the burst for a 55-49 advantage. After a Kirilenko free throw momentarily stopped the bleeding, Calderon drilled another shot from beyond the arc and Felipe Reyes hit a jumper with 4 1/2 minutes left to give Spain a 60-50 cushion.
Russia got only as close as seven from there.
A sluggish first quarter ended with the Russians owning a 12-9 lead and things didn't get much better for Spain in the second. After a three by Sergio Llull pulled the Spaniards within 17-14, Russia scored the next 10 points. Sergey Monya capped the burst with back-to-back threes to make it 27-14.
Monya scored nine in the first half for the Russians, who carried a 31-20 advantage to the break. Spain shot just 21 percent over the first 20 minutes, but came out firing in the third and scored 26 to get back into the game.
Fernandez started it with a three, but the Spaniards still trailed by nine with just over six minutes left in the third. They continued to chip away and finally tied it at 46-46 on a triple by Calderon just before the buzzer.