EUROPEAN BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT : Slovenia Defeats Germany, 88-76

From Associated Press

Although Yugoslavia has been banned from taking part in the European Olympic qualifying basketball competition, Slovenia is making the most of its past roots.

Slovenia, the breakaway republic that includes five former members of the Yugoslav national team, upset Germany, 88-76, at the Prince Felipe Pavilion on Tuesday to move closer to a berth in the 1992 Olympic Games.

In other games, Italy struggled to defeat Czechoslovakia, 78-74, behind Antonello Riva's 21 points, and Seton Hall forward Arturas Karsinovas scored 21 points as Lithuania beat Israel, 95-85.

Croatia, touted as one of the pre-tournament favorites, continued to struggle, but got 22 points each from Dino Radja and Toni Kukoc to defeat the Commonwealth of Independent States, 85-81. The victory was the first for Croatia in the final round after two losses.

The first-round results from the tournament are carried over into the final round, and only the top four finishers qualify for Barcelona.

Slovenia, a nation of 2 million that left Yugoslavia last year, improved to 2-1 in the round. Teoman Alebegovic scored 21 points, Roman Horvat added 20, and ex-Yugoslav guard Jure Zdovc played all 40 minutes, getting 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.

Slovenian Coach Zmago Sagadin said he expected to defeat Germany.

"We played Germany two times a few weeks ago, and we did very well against them," Sagadin said. "We beat them by 20 points very easily. They did not have (Indiana Pacer forward Detlef) Schrempf, but he cannot make a difference of 20 points.

"Everybody thinks Yugoslavian basketball is just Serbians and Croatians. Nobody thought Slovenia would be a quality team, but we will make sure everybody knows about Slovenian basketball."

Schrempf scored 22 points, but Germany lost its first tournament game in part by making only 19 of 28 free throws.

Italy shot 41% from the field and committed 18 turnovers, narrowly defeating Czechoslovakia. Riva and Ferdinando Gentile (10 points) were the only players to score in doubles figures. Oto Maticky led Czechoslovakia with 19.

Lithuanian center Arvidas Sabonis got into early foul trouble and was limited to 24 minutes, forcing Rimas Kurtinaitis (19 points), Golden State Warriors guard Sharunas Marciulionis (18 points) and Karsinovas to score.

Although ahead by 11 points at the half, Croatia's erratic play allowed the CIS to rally. The CIS cut the lead to four, 55-51, on a free throw by Voktor Berezhnoi with 12:49 to play, and stayed close the rest of the way.

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