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Winners over U.S. compete for gold

©Associated Press
September 8, 2002

INDIANAPOLIS -- The teams that defeated the United States will be the ones competing for the gold medal at the World Championships.

Yugoslavia took control by outscoring New Zealand by 17 in the third quarter in an 89-78 victory Saturday before a small but enthusiastic crowd of supporters at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Yugoslavia plays Argentina, which beat Germany 86-80, for the gold medal at 4 p.m. today.

Milos Vujanic, a second-round draft pick of the Knicks in June, hit a 3-pointer with 4:21 left in the third quarter to give Yugoslavia its first lead at 57-56. After Phil Jones made a layup, Vujanic hit another 3 to put Yugoslavia ahead for good.

Yugoslavia got a balanced offensive attack as Dejan Koturovic had 18, Marko Jaric 16, Dejan Bodiroga 14 and Vlade Divac 13. Peja Stojakovic shot just 4-for-14 for 10 points. Yugoslavia outrebounded New Zealand 42-22.

Yugoslavia outscored New Zealand 27-10 in the third quarter to turn a 48-39 halftime deficit into a 66-58 lead. New Zealand was unable to put together a rally in the fourth quarter.

Argentina beat Germany despite losing leading scorer Emanuel Genobili, who will play for the Spurs next season, to injury in the second quarter.

Argentina, the team that handed a U.S. team with NBA players its first loss ever earlier in the week, won the first World Championships in 1950 and hasn't finished better than sixth since.

Hugo Sconochini gave Argentina (8-0) the lead for good at 80-78 with two free throws with 44 seconds left.

Germany (5-2) wasn't able to get a good shot off on its next two possessions and Argentina scored after both for an 84-78 lead with 9.4 seconds left.

Dirk Nowitzki, an NBA All-Star with the Dallas Mavericks and this tournament's leading scorer, had his second tough shooting game against Argentina. He finished 8-for-26 from the field and had 24 points Saturday. In the first meeting, an 86-77 victory for Argentina, he was 3-for-17 and had 21 points.

Argentina coach Ruben Magnano wasn't worried his team wouldn't be able to come back to earth for the title game.

"After the game against the United States the euphoria lasted for us for 15 minutes because we knew the game against Brazil was more important," he said, referring to the quarterfinal against Brazil a day after the 87-80 win over USA. "The way we look at things certainly history will tell that that game was more important."

WOMEN'S WORLD CHALLENGE: Shannon Johnson scored 20 as the United States beat Australia 84-55 at Newcastle, Australia, in a rematch of their Sydney Olympics gold-medal final. Sheryl Swoopes added 14 to lead the Americans, 2-0 in the four-nation competition.

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