Kaun Helps Russia to Victory in Olympic Opener

July 29, 2012

LONDON – Former Kansas men’s basketball player Sasha Kaun started and saw significant minutes in Russia’s opening game win over Great Britain Sunday afternoon on day two of the Olympic Games. Kaun’s team spoiled the Brits’ homecoming with a convincing 95-75 win to open up the preliminary group-play round.

Kaun, who played at Kansas from 2005-08 and was a key reserve on KU’s 2008 NCAA National Championship team, started and saw just over 19 minutes as the Russians beat Great Britain 95-75 in the first game of Group B play. Kaun netted five points on 2-of-5 shooting and a 1-of-3 clip from the free throw line. The Tomsk, Russia native also collected two rebounds and a block in helping his team earn an important two points toward their group-play point total.

The Russians powered to victory behind 73 percent shooting from the field, which included Andre Kirilenko’s 35-point outburst on 13-of-15 shooting. The Russian defense was also solid, forcing 18 Great Britain turnovers and holding the Brits to 34 first-half points.

Kaun is the first Jayhawk men’s basketball player to participate in the Olympic Games since Danny Manning competed for the United States in 1988, winning the bronze medal. Kaun currently plays professionally for CSKA Moscow and is no stranger to international play. He was also a member of the Russian National Team, which competed in the 2010 World Championships in Turkey.

The Russian’s week ahead of group play will now include matchups with China on Tuesday, July 31 at 3 a.m. (CT), Brazil on Thursday, August 2 at 10:45 a.m. (CT) and Spain on Saturday at 5:15 a.m. (CT). Kaun and his teammates will close out group play on Monday, August 6 against Australia. The top four teams from both six-team groups will advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals, which begin August 8.