Basketball: Myers just fails to halt United States

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The Independent Online
THE UNITED STATES withstood a 32-point performance by Carlton Myers to edge Italy 80-77 yesterday and set up a semi-final meeting with Russia at the World Basketball Championship in Athens.

Michael Hawkins led the US collection of castoffs with 16 points, and Wendell Alexis added 14, including two free throws with 25.7sec left, that put the Americans ahead 79-77.

Myers missed a 28-foot three-point attempt that would have won the game with 2.9sec on the clock, and Kiwane Garris (11 points) added a free throw for the final margin.

"This game was tough to lose. We were there to the end," Myers said.

"Eventually we wore them down and made the baskets that counted," said Alexis, a star at Syracuse in the 1980s and who now plays in the German League. "We would have loved to win the game by 30 points, but now it's down to the medal round and every game is going to be hard."

The Dream Team probably would have beaten Italy by about 30 points, but USA Basketball dumped the NBA stars in mid-June in the middle of the league's ongoing labour dispute. In their place is a rag-tag mix of players drawn mainly from the Continental Basketball Association and European leagues.

Russia moved into the semi-finals by pulling away from Lithuania 82-67 as Vassily Karassev scored 31 points.

Russia lost to the United States in the gold medal game at the 1994 World Championships.

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