KU's Kaun Helps Russian Basketball Team to 3-0 Record in Olympic Group B Play

Aug. 2, 2012

LONDON – Former Kansas men’s basketball player Sasha Kaun’s teammate Vitaliy Fridzon made a three-pointer with four seconds remaining to lift Russia to a 75-74 win against Brazil in Preliminary Round Group B action Thursday at the Olympic Games. With the win Russia improved to 3-0 Group B competition.

Kaun, who played at Kansas from 2005-08 and was a key reserve on KU’s 2008 NCAA National Championship team, started and played just over 15 minutes, scoring three points on 1-for-3 shooting. The Tomsk, Russia, native battled foul problems, ending the contest with four personals as he also pulled down two rebounds in the victory.

The Russians surrendered an 11-point lead and Brazil’s Marcelo Huertas looked like he would be the hero after making a driving layup to put his team up 74-72 with 6.1 seconds left. Russia then called timeout and threw the ball along the left corner to Fridzon, who knocked down the jumper for the game winner.

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 Russians continue group play against Spain (3-0) on Saturday, Aug. 4, at 5:15 a.m. (CT), in a game that could determine Group B’s No. 1 seed and avoid playing the overall No. 1 seed, USA, who is playing in Group A until the gold medal game. Kaun and his teammates will close out group play on Monday, August 6 against Australia at 2 a.m. (CT). The top four teams from both six-team groups will advance to the single-elimination quarterfinals, which begin August 8.

Note: Associated Press contributed to this story