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Serbia-Montenegro loses another at buzzer

8/20/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- A disputed call with 20 seconds left
figured prominently in another controversial loss for reigning
world champion Serbia-Montenegro.

New Zealand rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final 5
minutes to beat Serbia-Montenegro 90-87 Thursday in a physical game
that had the officials attracting as much attention as the loser's
suddenly precarious path to the quarterfinals.

Dillon Boucher's driving layup with 20 seconds left brought New
Zealand (1-2) within 87-86. As Serbia-Montenegro was inbounding the
ball, New Zealand's Mark Dickel wrapped his arms around Milos
Vujanic to draw the foul and stop the clock.

Instead, an offensive foul was called on Vujanic, and Sean Marks
dunked on the resulting inbounds play to give New Zealand an 88-87
lead.

Vujanic missed a 3-point attempt with 5 seconds left. Dickel
made two free throws with 3.7 seconds left, and Dejan Bodiroga's
3-point attempt at the buzzer was short.

All three of Serbia-Montenegro's games have been decided at the
buzzer.

Serbia-Montenegro coach Zeljko Obradovic followed officials
Jorge Vazquez of Puerto Rico and Phillippe Leemann of Switzerland
off the court, waving his finger at them as he talked animatedly.

"The decision with 20 seconds left ... directly affected the
game," Obradovic said. "The decision was a gift to the team that
won the game.

"Maybe there are some rules I don't know about. That was a very
strange decision."

Obradovic caused some controversy after his team's opening loss
to Argentina when he stormed out of the postgame news conference
complaining about the translator's version of what he said.

Serbia-Montenegro dropped to 1-2, with games left against Spain
and China.

"Nothing happened with the world champions," said Dejan
Bodiroga, who had 25 points. "It's just that we lost two games by
a (shot).

"Now we turn to further games, and we will fight until the
end," he said.

Kirk Penney led New Zealand with 15 points.

"It was our Olympic campaign, simple as that," said Sean
Marks, who plays for the San Antonio Spurs. "If we lose, we're
done."

Puerto Rico 83, Angola 80
Puerto Rico, which shocked the basketball
world in a rout of the United States in the opening game of the
Olympic tournament, had to hold on until the buzzer for an 83-80
victory over Angola.

Daniel Santiago blocked Carlos Almeida's 3-point attempt as time
expired to clinch the win for Puerto Rico (2-1), which beat the
United States 92-73 on Sunday night. That loss was the first by a
U.S. team since NBA players started participating in the Olympics
in 1992, and it was just the third ever for the United States in
112 Olympic games.

Angola (0-3) has won just one preliminary round game in its four
Olympic appearances and that was a 20-point victory over Spain in
its debut in 1992. Its other two wins have been in classification
games.

Edmar Victoriano's reverse layup with 2:12 to play brought
Angola into a 78-all tie and had the crowd of about 6,000 in the
Helliniko Indoor Arena cheering wildly and chanting "An-go-la."

Eddie Casiano hit a 3 with 1:06 left for Puerto Rico, and
Almeida brought Angola within 81-80 on a drive with 44 seconds to
play.

Carlos Arroyo restored the lead to three points with 23 seconds
to go and Angola had two chances to tie -- a 3 by Angelo Victoriano
with 6 seconds left, and after a turnover by Puerto Rico, Almeida's
final shot.

Elias Ayuso had 17 points for Puerto Rico, while Arroyo and
Santiago each added 16.

Antonio de Carvalho led Angola with 14 points.

Miguel Lutonda, Angola's second-leading scorer in the tournament
with an average of 11 points, injured his left ankle with 4 minutes
left in the third quarter and did not return. He finished with 11
points.

Argentina 82, China 57
Argentina used its press and passing to negate Yao Ming's size.

Forcing turnover after turnover with its fullcourt press and
then moving the ball around quickly on the offensive end, Argentina
made sure the 7-foot-5 Yao was never a factor.

Both teams came into the matchup with 1-1 records, and the loss
put China into a must-win situation for a chance to reach the
quarterfinals.

Andres Nocioni had 17 points for Argentina, while Luis Scola
added 15 and Manu Ginobili, who plays for the San Antonio Spurs,
had 14.

China committed 15 turnovers and Yao was 1-for-7 from the field
as Argentina took a 41-21 halftime lead. Argentina didn't let up as
the 6-8 Nocioni, who just signed with the Chicago Bulls, went right
at Yao and dunked for Argentina's first points of the second half.

Yao came into the game averaging 25.5 points and 10.5 rebounds.
The center for the Houston Rockets finished with 15 points on
6-for-13 shooting against Argentina. China had a total of 23
turnovers and Argentina had a 40-29 rebound advantage.

"Obviously, we knew China's biggest offensive weapon is Yao and
they have good perimeter shooters, and we were able to stop Yao,"
Argentina coach Ruben Magnano said.

Argentina, the runner-up in the 2002 World Championships,
finishes pool play against New Zealand and Italy.

China is one of four teams in Group A with a 1-2 record and it
finishes against two of the others -- Italy and reigning world
champion Serbia-Montenegro. China must win at least one to advance
to next week's quarterfinals, something it has done only once in
seven previous Olympic appearances.