The U.S.S.R. national team matched the University of Virginia giant for giant tonight and came away with a 75-74 victory in a basketball game played under international rules.
Vladimir Tkachenko, a lumbering 320-pound, 7-foot-3 center, made seven of his team's final nine points, including the final two with a minute to play, as the Soviets improved their United States tour record to 8-4.
Tkachenko, who at times teamed with 7-2 Alexandr Belostenni, finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds, both game highs.
His bulk wore down Virginia's 7-4 freshman Ralph Sampson and eventually led to the Cav center fouling out with 4:17 to play.
Until then, Sampson had played well, making eight of 18 shots for 16 points, grabbing six rebounds and assisting on four baskets.
"I think No. 50 (Sampson) is a good center, good rebounder," said veteran Soviet Coach Alexandr Gomelsky. "In a year he can play pro ball. He's strong and a good shooter."
Gomelsky, who is prepping his squad for the 1980 Olympics, had praise for the Virginia team.
"Better than Notre Dame and Louisville."
But, Gomelsky insisted, not as good as Indiana, which is "very, very, very good. I think Indiana is better. They have very good coach in Bobby Knight."
Virginia, which trailed 45-38 at half, rallied to go ahead, 63-62, on Lee Raker's jumper at 6:13. Freshman Craig Robinson made one of two free throws to give the Cavaliers a 69-66 lead before Tkachenko followed with the basket on which Sampson picked up his fifth foul. The Soviet center's free throw tied the score.
After Jeff Lamp's baseline jumper knotted the game at 73, Tkachenko made two of three from the foul line to put Soviets ahead to stay.