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BASKETBALL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS : Yugoslavs Rout Soviets for the Title

From Associated Press

Yugoslavia, living up to its role as the tournament favorite, won its third title in the World Basketball Championships with a 92-75 victory over the Soviet Union Sunday.

The victory ties Yugoslavia with the Soviet Union for most championships in the 11 tournaments played. The United States and Brazil each have won two and Argentina one, since the inaugural event in 1950.

Yugoslavia, which lost only one game in the tournament, took control early at both ends of the court.

It turned a 12-7 lead into a 26-10 advantage as the Soviet Union went 6:10 without a field goal.

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Toni Kukoc, the Yugoslavs’ top offense player, was primarily responsible for shutting down Soviet forward Valeri Tikhonenko, who was averaging 20.4 points per game. Tikhonenko was scoreless in the first half, managing only two shots.

Yugoslavia led, 52-34, at halftime and was able to stave off the only Soviet rally.

A driving jumper by Oleg Meleschenko cut the lead to 60-53 with 11:08 to play.

Yugoslavia then went on a 13-2 run, with Zarko Paspalj scoring six points, and the gold medal was never in doubt again.

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Drazen Petrovic, of the Portland Trail Blazers, led Yugoslavia with 20 points, and Paspalj, of the San Antonio Spurs, added 16. Kukoc, a second-round draft pick this year of the Chicago Bulls, had 14 points and Vlade Divac of the Lakers had six points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Alexander Volkov of the Atlanta Hawks led the Soviets with 15 points. Tikhonenko finished with 11.

In the fifth-place game, Oscar Schmidt scored 44 points to lead Brazil to a 97-94 victory over Greece.

Greece tied the score, 92-92, with 2:22 left on two free throws by Pano Fasoulas. But Brazil’s Felipe Azevedo made a three-pointer 19 seconds later to break the tie.

After the teams traded field goals, Greece’s Constantinos Patavoucas missed a three-pointer with 31 seconds left and Brazil ran off the clock.

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