London, England – Alexey Shved scored 25 points and hit the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute to lift Russia to an 81-77 victory over Argentina for the men's basketball bronze medal at the London Olympics.
Andrei Kirilenko, who will return to the NBA this fall with the Minnesota Timberwolves, contributed 20 points and eight rebounds for the Russians, who captured a men's basketball medal for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Manu Ginobili led Argentina with 21 points.
Ginobili's tough layup with 43 seconds remaining gave Argentina a 77-76 lead, but Shved drilled a three at the other end just six seconds later to put Russia in front for good.
Argentina worked the ball to the right corner for Andres Nocioni, whose shot from beyond the arc went halfway down and rattled out with 15 seconds to play. Ginobili quickly stole the ball after Russia had grabbed the rebound, but Shved took it away from Carlos Delfino and fed Vitaliy Fridzon for an uncontested layup with five seconds left to seal the contest.
The Argentines were unhappy with the lack of a foul call in the closing seconds.
Shved, also headed to the NBA this season with Minnesota, made 6-of-11 shots from three-point range and led Russia with seven assists. Fridzon chipped in 19 points in the victory.
Nocioni scored 16 and hauled in seven rebounds, while Delfino contributed 15 points in defeat. Argentina, after a 26-point loss to the United States in the semifinals, was trying for a third straight Olympic medal. The Argentines won bronze four years ago in Beijing after capturing gold at the 2004 Games in Athens.
Russia opened a 10-4 lead early, but Argentina followed with 10 of the next 12 to move in front and held a 20-19 edge after 10 minutes. The Argentines built a six-point margin early in the second quarter, but Russia stormed back with a 12-0 run. Shved started the burst with a three and Kirilenko finished it with the last four points to give the Russians a 33-27 advantage midway with four minutes left in the half.
Another Shved triple sent Russia to the break with a 40-38 lead and a Sergey Monya bucket off the break late in the third made it 61-50. The Argentines battled back with the final seven points of the period and went to the fourth down just four.
Shved scored four straight points midway through the final quarter to give Russia a 71-66 lead, but Nocioni and Ginobili answered with threes to put Argentina ahead and it stayed tight for the final 2 1/2 minutes.