Russia’s male basketball team have qualified for the London Olympics, bagging a place after beating Nigeria 85-77 in a qualifier in Venezuela.
Aleksey Shved top scored with 22 points, while Andrey Kirilenko added 19 to the game winning total.
“This game was very, very tough. Nigeria fought to the end,” said Kirilenko.
The Nigerians outrebounded Russia 29-24 and almost staged another stunning tournament comeback, just as they did against Greece in the quarterfinals.
They found themselves trailing by 20 in the third quarter, but managed to pull within 6 points in the final minutes of the game courtesy of a series of three-pointers and scrappy rebounding.
However, Kirilenko and Co. stood confident in the end, blocking the African side from any real shot at victory.
The win for David Blatt’s men put them in Group A at the summer games, where they will play the United States, Argentina, France, Tunisia and Lithuania, who also qualified after beating the Dominican Republic 109-83.
Russia was the only team to win all four of its games in the qualifying tournament, including a 91-65 thrashing of South Korea and an 84-69 win over the Dominicans.
After the semifinal game, David Blatt praised his team, saying that the Russians could be proud of themselves.