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USSR 92, Notre Dame 76

January 7, 1991

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ Oleg Meleshenko scored 14 of his 21 points in the first seven minutes of the second half as the Soviet national team pulled away from Notre Dame on the way to a 92-76 victory Sunday night in the opening event of the Centennial Celebration of Basketball.

Meleshenko’s hot hand, along with the shooting of Vitali Nosov, who also had 21, powered the Soviets’ 23-14 surge in the opening moments of the second half. That allowed the visitors to pad a seven-point halftime lead to 74-58 with 10:05 to play.

Notre Dame, coming off an 82-47 loss to North Carolina Saturday night, its worst defeat in 20 seasons, was led by LaPhonso Ellis’ 25 points.

The Irish tried to come back, going on a 10-2 run, but the Soviets then reeled off 11 consecutive points to put it away with 2 1/2 minutes to play.

The Soviets, who shot 68 percent in the first half and 64 percent for the game, went on a 12-0 run in a three-minute span late in the half to erase a 39-36 Notre Dame lead and surge ahead by a 48-39 margin. Vitali Nosov had five points in the run.

The teams played even throughout the first 10 minutes, with the Irish hanging in behind the scoring of Ellis, who had 16 points before intermission. Ellis’ jumper with 1:36 to go cut the Soviet lead to seven. Meleshenko and Bennett swapped 3-pointers in the final seconds, and the Soviets led 51-44.

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