Tue, Sep 18, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Jon Holden scores late to lead Russia to Euro title


Jon Holden scored with two seconds remaining on Sunday to lift Russia over Spain by a score of 60-59 in the final of the European Basketball Championship.

Holden stripped Spain center Pau Gasol with 27 seconds to play, then pump-faked before his jump shot bounced high and in for the win. Gasol's jumper at the buzzer rattled out as time expired.

Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko led Russia with 17 points as the Russians won their first European title in 22 years. Kirilenko was named MVP of the tournament.

Jorge Garbajosa's 3-pointer put Spain in front after Russia had led for the first time when US-born Holden made a layup at 9:02 to make it 51-49.

But Gasol struggled from the free throw line during the last five minutes, making only 4-of-9. His last miss left Spain leading 60-54 with 1:48 to play.

With 59 seconds to go, Kirilenko stole the ball from Carlos Jimenez to set up Nikita Morgunov as Russia narrowed the deficit to 59-58.

Kirilenko spent time on the bench earlier in the game because he had four fouls. But before that, the Utah Jazz forward kept Russia in the game on successive plays in the third quarter, setting up Victor Khryapa for a layup, blocking forward Felipe Reyes' dunk and making a 3-pointer to cut it to 43-39 with 4:12 to go.

Russia, which outscored Spain 26-10 in the paint, last won the European title when it was still the former Soviet Union.

Crown Prince Felipe presented the Russian players, led by coach David Blatt, with gold medals in front of the capacity crowd of 15,500, most of whom were hoping that world champion Spain could win the title on its sixth try.

In the bronze-medal game, Ksistof Lavrinovic scored 19 points to lead Lithuania over Greece 78-69. Lithuania also qualified for next year's Beijing Olympics by finishing third.

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