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U.S. Team Remains in Hunt for Gold

From Associated Press

The United States defeated Lithuania, 89-76, Thursday night at New York to advance to the Goodwill Games’ gold-medal basketball game.

They will play tonight against Australia, which beat defending champion Puerto Rico, 86-74. And in this case, there will be more NBA experience on the Australian team than among the Americans.

A three-point basket by Wally Szczerbiak of Miami-Ohio, who led a balanced U.S. offense with 20 points, gave the Americans a 19-point lead over Lithuania with 14 1/2 minutes left and seven points in a 2 1/2-minute span by Keith Carter of Mississippi made the score 76-51 with 9:09 to go.

Shane Heal, who played one season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, led Australia with 21 points, and Tony Ronaldson had 20, including two three-point baskets during a 14-0 burst at the start of the second half.

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Andrew Gaze, who led Seton Hall to the NCAA championship game in 1989, scored 15 points and Chris Antsey of the Dallas Mavericks had 14.

“The Goodwill Games are no longer a tuneup,” Gaze said. “We were out there to win a medal. The Goodwill Games are earning a fair amount of prestige, and to come away with a medal is important.”

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Chinese gymnast Sang Lan remained in a Long Island hospital bed, unable to move her legs, while her parents remained half a world away, trying to get the appropriate visas to see their injured child. And an experimental treatment for Sang began Thursday night.

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Sang began receiving the experimental nerve re-generating drug GM-1, also known as Sygen. She will receive the drug intravenously for 57 consecutive days.

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In gymnastics, Trent Wells of Keizer, Ore., thought he had a silver medal in the men’s parallel bars but wound up with no medal at all. Judges twice changed scores after reviewing routines and dropped Wells from a tie for second to fourth, behind Xu Huang of China, Ivan Ivankov of Belarus and Aleksei Bondarenko of Russia.

Ivankov then won the high bar, holding off Russia’s Alexei Nemov. It was the fourth medal for Ivankov, including the all-around gold.

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In beach volleyball, it took Martin Conde and Esteban Martinez of Argentina 135 serves to defeat Jan Kvalheim and Bjorn Maaseide of Norway, 16-14. The No. 2 U.S. team of Sinjin Smith and Ricci Luyties lost for the second straight day, 15-5 to Canada’s John Child and Mark Heese.

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Irina Lashko added the Goodwill Games’ one-meter springboard title to her world championship. The Russian diver, silver medalist on the three-meter springboard at the 1996 Olympics, edged China’s Guo Jingjing by 7.32 points. Erica Sorgi of the U.S. finished fifth.

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China won the men’s synchronized platform gold medal, with Tian Liang and Sun Shuwei getting the day’s only perfect scores. Americans Mark Ruiz and Justin Dumais finished fourth.


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