KAZAN, July 7 (R-Sport) – Cleveland Cavaliers forward Sergey Karasev poured in a team-high 31 points as Russia’s 2013 Universiade basketball team thumped Oman 117-24 in their first game of group play on Sunday.
It marked one of the first games Karasev, 19, has played since the Cavaliers picked him 19th overall at the NBA Draft last month. The 6-foot-7 forward was the first Russian drafted into the NBA since Sasha Kaun in 2008.
The slender St. Petersburg native – who spent the 2012-13 season playing with BC Triumph Lyubertsy of the VTB United League – was undoubtedly the leader and focal point on a team featuring several professional Russian basketball players. Karasev and BC Nizhny Novgorod forward Semen Antonov won bronze with the men’s national team at the London 2012 Olympics and both are expected to play at EuroBasket in September.
Karasev shot 13-for-17 in 18:49 while mostly playing the guard position. Antonov, 23, added nine points while Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar guard Maxim Grigoriyev and forward Andrey Zubkov had eight and seven, respectively.
Despite the offensive outpour, Karasev said he does not expect to carry the burden of being Russia's leading scorer game in and game out. But he acknowledged he is team leader.
"The team will go with me to the gold medal, so I'll put all my energy on the court," he said.
Oman, which did not field a basketball team at the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen, scored six points in the first quarter, six in the second, four in the third and eight in the fourth while shooting a dismal 22 percent from the field. Each basket brought supportive cheers from the sparse crowd at Kazan’s Basket Hall.
Oman held onto the lead for eight seconds just over a minute into the first quarter after Faisal al-Jamoudi hit a three-pointer to make it 3-2.
Under Serbian head coach Filip-Luetic Neven, who also guides Oman’s national team, the Middle Eastern nation committed 36 turnovers while playing mostly a perimeter game against the much-bigger Russians. Oman fields only three plays 6-foot-4 or taller. Russian, meanwhile, has only one player under that height.
Said al-Saadi led Oman with eight points.
Russia’s blowout wasn’t the only one on Sunday. The United States manhandled the United Arab Emirates 140-46, and Serbia nearly doubled up Mongolia 110-56.
Russia’s largest win at the 2011 Universiade, when they finished a disappointing eighth, was a 105-47 drubbing of the Philippines.
Russia and Oman are in Group A with Estonia, Germany, Ukraine and Korea. Russia next plays Estonia on Monday while Oman faces Korea.