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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Starts Cup Drive With 116-73 Stunner

Russia began its European basketball campaign in impressive fashion, thrashing Macedonia 116-73 in the opening qualifier in Moscow.

The hosts took full advantage of their speed and sharp shooting to dispose of the squad from the former Yugoslavia republic Wednesday, weakened by the absence of its top scorer Peter Naimovski, who recently became a Turkish citizen.

The Russians, bronze medalists in this year's European Championship, will also face Hungary, Poland, Romania and Portugal and should have little trouble advancing.

On the domestic front, the head of Russian league leader Avtodor Saratov threatened to move his team to a different location by next month unless the local administration pays closer attention to the club's needs.

Avtodor, the country's lone representative in the European Cup, has no suitable arena in Saratov and must play all its international home games in Moscow.

"I'm sick and tired of trying to persuade the city's authorities to build us a new [stadium]," said Avtodor owner Vladimir Rodionov in an interview with Sport Express, who was hospitalized this week with a mild heart attack. "You waste time, money and energy commuting back and forth. It's just makes no sense."

Rodionov pointed out that cities such as Samara and Moscow, already the home of five basketball teams, would be the prime candidates for relocation.