Basketball: Russia snatch bronze from Argentina in chaotic final seconds


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The Independent Online

Russia snatched bronze away from Argentina in the chaotic final seconds of the third-place play-off in the London Olympics.

Argentina were left berating the referees at the close, claiming there had been a foul on Pablo Prigioni before the buzzer but their arguments fell on deaf ears.

Alexey Shved nailed a three to give Russia a 79-77 edge with 37 seconds left and Andres Nocioni's three at the other end then rimmed out.

Vitaliy Fridzon grabbed the rebound but immediately lost the ball to Manu Ginobili.

Prigioni was primed to launch another attack but was controversially robbed by Shved, and Fridzon scored an easy lay-up to make it a four-point game with five seconds left.

The result means bronze for a Russia team who only qualified for the Olympics last month, while Argentina's golden generation - a squad that featured five Olympic champions from 2004 - leave with nothing but furious tempers.

Russia started strong and moved into a 10-4 lead when Victor Khryapa hit a pair of free throws with the game three minutes old.

Argentina came back and led 14-12 on a Ginobili three-pointer.

They were warming up from range with Nocioni and Carlos Delfino also hitting shots as they led 20-19 at the end of the first quarter.

Early in the second, Prigioni stole the ball from Anton Ponkrashov directly from an inbounds pass and Delfino nailed a three to make it 25-21.

But Russia responded with a 12-2 run, leading 33-27 on Andrei Kirilenko's lay-up with four minutes left in the half.

Two big threes from Leonardo Gutierrez brought Argentina level and Russia held a narrow 40-38 edge at the break from Shved's three-pointer.

Nocioni's three opened up the third quarter, but it would belong to Russia as they looked to take control of the game.

A 12-2 run broke it open and they were up 61-50 when Sergey Monya robbed Delfino of the ball and took it in for an easy lay-up.

Argentina kept scrapping and Facundo Campazzo's three-pointer on the buzzer brought them back within four at the end of the third quarter.

An intense scrap on the boards saw Russia get second, third and fourth chances but they could not get shots to fall early in the fourth quarter and Scola's tough lay-up made it 61-60.

Kirilenko could only split his free throws and Ginobili's driving lay-up tied it with seven minutes remaining.

Shved hit a big three to give Russia the edge, and it was the new Minnesota Timberwolves man with a dunk that made it 71-66 with 4:16 left in the game.

Argentina responded again with threes from Nocioni and Ginobili pushing them back in front.

Shved split his free throws from the line but Delfino hit a pair from the line to nudge Argentina back in front.

Ginobili missed a three and Shved tied it from the line and Russia edged ahead on further free throws from Fridzon before the frantic finish.

The outstanding Shved finished with 25 points and seven assists, while Kirilenko had 20 and Fridzon 19.

Ginobili scored 21 points for Argentina with Nocioni adding 16, Delfino 15 and Scola 11.