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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kirilenko Leads Russia Past Israel 90-56

ReutersRussia's Andrei Kirilenko trying to maneuver around Israel's Jeron Roberts during their European basketball championships game Tuesday in Granada, Spain.
MADRID -- Russia won its second straight game to earn a spot in the next round of EuroBasket 2007 on Tuesday, dominating last-minute Group A qualifier Israel 90-56.

The national team's impressive performance in Granada followed a 73-65 win over Serbia on Monday, and the team seems eager to improve on its eighth-place finishes in the last three championships.

American-born John Robert Holden lobbed a pass for Andrei Kirilenko to slam four minutes, 25 seconds into the second period to give Russia a 32-21 lead, a double-digit advantage it kept the rest of the way.

Kirilenko hit a 3-pointer moments later and Russia led by 12 at halftime. The team opened the second half with an 18-2 run, and Kirilenko finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

"It's an important win for us," the star forward said in comments posted on the EuroBasket web site. "Israel is a good team, they just caught a very bad day, but we used that for our advantage."

The win stirred up conflicting emotions for Russia coach David Blatt. An Israeli native, Blatt was originally appointed to coach his country's national team but quit for technical reasons before training camp.

"Today the better team won, but I wish Israel with all my heart the best of luck tomorrow," Blatt said, the web site reported. "When you win, it's always fun to coach. In a normal game, there are two kinds of joy if you win: the actual joy of winning, but also the win of who was your opponent. Tonight I have joy only from the first type."

Israel lost to defending champion Greece 76-66 on Monday, and needed a win against Serbia on Wednesday to qualify to the next round.

Winless Serbia needed to beat Israel to avoid its worst finish in 60 years.

France, Greece, Spain, Germany, Lithuania and Croatia also won their qualifying games Tuesday.

Tony Parker poured in 36 points in Group D leader France's 69-62 win over Italy, handing the Olympic runner-up its second loss at the championship.

At Granada, Serbia's Milan Gurovic heaved a 3-pointer from half court to force overtime, but Greece prevailed 68-67. Lithuania moved into the second round with a 95-75 win over Group C rival Czech Republic (0-2) before Germany (2-0) routed Turkey (0-2) 79-49 behind 24 points from Dirk Nowitzki.

Pau Gasol had 26 points and nine rebounds to lead world champion Spain over Latvia 93-77 in Sevilla, where Croatia (1-1) beat Portugal (0-2) 90-68 in another Group B game.

In the other Group D match, Slovenia (2-0) advanced with a 70-52 win over Poland.

At Alicante, Parker scored 13 of France's first 17 points and Les Bleus rallied from a 7-0 deficit to get within three to start the second quarter.

But as Parker and France quieted, Italy build its biggest lead of the game, 33-24.

After cutting the deficit to five by intermission, France opened the second half with a 6-0 run to take its first lead, 37-36 thanks to two Parker free throws after Andrea Crosario was issued a technical foul for slamming the ball into the base of the basketball pole.

Parker scored France's next 10 points to give it a 47-41 advantage that Italy closed to 51-47 with the San Antonio Spurs guard finishing the final two minutes of the third quarter on the bench.

Italy scored six straight to start the fourth, reclaiming the lead, which it traded back-and-forth until Tariq Kirksay hit a three-pointer with three minutes remaining to put France ahead for good, 63-60.

Parker added a layup and two more free throws, finishing 8-for-9 from the line to complement his 55 percent field goal shooting.

In Granada, Dimosthenis Ntikoudis' dunk gave Greece a three-point lead with five seconds remaining before Gurovic tied it 56-56 with a second remaining as he fell out of bounds.

Ntikoudis' three-pointer put Greece ahead 68-64 with 40 seconds to go, but Milos Teodosic hit a layup 10 seconds later and sunk a free throw to complete a three-point play, pulling Serbia back within one.

After Vasileios Spanoulis missed with his jumper with three seconds left, Marko Jaric grabbed the rebound, but Lazaros Papadopoulos blocked his shot from top of the key as time expired.

The top-three from each four-team group advance into the second round of group play, which will decide the quarterfinals, which begin in Madrid on Sept. 13.

MT, AP