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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Greeks End Russia's Championship

ReutersKirilenko dunking against Greece.
BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro -- Playing against a slew of former and current teammates, CSKA Moscow guard Theodoros Papaloukas willed Greece to a 66-61 victory over Russia in the quarterfinals of the European basketball championships Thursday night to knock Russia out of medal contention.

Papaloukas, who has been a key figure in CSKA's success the past three years and will play for the club next season, scored 23 points as Greece's smothering defense held Russia to an abysmal 33 percent from the field to move on to Saturday's semifinal against the winner of the France-Lithuania quarterfinal.

Russia was led by star forward Andrei Kirilenko of the NBA's Utah Jazz, who scored 20 points while hauling down 16 rebounds and blocking three shots.

After taking a 33-26 lead into the intermission, Greece outscored Russia 18-7 in the third quarter as the Russian team looked desperate for a scorer to turn to.

Naturalized Russian J.R. Holden, an American point guard from Pittsburgh and a teammate of Papaloukas' with CSKA, continued to struggle from the field in the tournament, scoring just 15 points on the 19 shots he put up.

Papaloukas outplayed his teammate, shooting 8 for 10 from the field, including 2 for 3 from behind the 3-point line.

"Somebody has to win, and somebody has to lose," the Greek guard said after the game. "We managed to get lucky tonight and come out with a win."

Russia shot a dismal 4 for 27 from behind the 3-point line in the loss, and head coach Sergei Babkov put in national team rookie Vitaly Fridzon in the second half to try to add some long-range firepower. Fridzon managed to knock down one 3-pointer, but the substitution had little effect on the outcome of the game.

CSKA forward Sergei Monya, who will join the Portland Trail Blazers next season, continued to disappoint the Russia fans, scoring only two points and missing both of his 3-point attempts.

The Russian players looked despondent returning to the locker room following the loss, declining to give interviews on the spot.

Forward Viktor Khryapa, another Trail Blazer, added eight points for Russia. Russia will now battle it out in the consolation round for a berth into next year's World Championships in Japan.