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Croatia runs 2-0 after stunning Russia 85-78
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Zoran Planinic damped the last surge-up with a 3-pointer and a crucial offensive rebounds to lead Croatia to a 85-78 win over Russia in Tuesday's preliminary-round match of the men's basketball competition at the Beijing Olympics.

Marko Popovic made three free-throws to insure the victory for Croatia (2-0), which got a berth at the Beijing Games after finishing 4-0 in the Qualifying Tournament of July.

Popovic had the game-high of 22 points and Paninic added 20. Stanko Barac contributed 12 points and seven rebounds.

Croatia's sharp shooters buried five 3-pointers in the first half in a quite even match-up to lead 42-36 on the break.

Andrey Kirilenko had an all-round game, 18 points, six rebounds, three blocks and three assists, but not enough to put the defending champions back on the track as they were beaten again in the third quarter by 60-51.

Russia closed the gap to five points several times in the fourth period before Planinic's 3-pointer made it 82-74 with 1 minute and 10 seconds to go. He grabbed the offensive rebounds on the following possession and the time ran off.

(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2008)

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