Mikhail Kulagin and Andrey Vorontsevich helped Russia overpower Nigeria in the opening game of the Basketball World Cup (82-77).
The Russian duo combined for 30 points off the bench (Kulagin 16, Vorontsevich 14), while Andrey Zubkov (12 points) and Vitaly Fridzon (11 points) also finished the game in double figures for the winners.
Six players scored in double digits for the losing squad, with Josh Okogie posting a game-high 18 points, but missing crucial shots in the final minutes.
Nigeria scored the first four points of the game, but Russia went on an 18-3 run to take a double-digit lead (18-7).
Yet, the Nigerians turned things around and tied the match at the end of the third quarter (58-58).
Thanks to a 5-13 run, Nigeria took control early in the fourth quarter (63-71), but the Russians quickly came back. Behind a 19-6 run in the remaining minutes, they took over and won the game.
Russia made a big step in its effort to qualify for the second round and will now face Korea on Monday (02/09).
On the other hand, Nigeria has to win its next two games in order to retain its chances to advance to the second round. They will battle Argentina on Monday (02/09).
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