Roundup: Yao's 29 can't save China in overtime

Updated: August 22, 2006, 9:47 AM ET
Associated Press

Yao Ming couldn't save China from falling in overtime to Puerto Rico, and Italy advanced to the second round on Tuesday at the FIBA World Championship.

Group D
Puerto Rico 90, China 87, OT
SAPPORO, Japan -- Yao Ming scored 29 points, but China couldn't hang on after he fouled out midway through the fourth quarter and lost in overtime.

Elias Ayuso scored 27 points, nine in overtime, and Carlos Arroyo added 25 in a scoring duel with Yao. Arroyo (26 points per game) and Yao (25.5) entered as the tournament's top scorers.

Yao Ming, left, and Peter Ramos.
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillYao Ming and Peter Ramos were both called for fouls when they traded light head butts during Puerto Rico's OT win.

Daniel Santiago had 14 points, 10 in the fourth quarter and overtime for Puerto Rico (2-1), which has won two straight after losing to the United States in its opener.

China (0-3) led by 11 early in the fourth quarter and was still up by two when Yao fouled out with 4:40 left in regulation. But the Chinese had only one more field goal in regulation and allowed the first six points in overtime.

Antonio Latimer, taking advantage of Yao's absence underneath, made the tying basket while being fouled with 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. He missed the free throw and Puerto Rico got the rebound, but Arroyo missed a jumper just before the buzzer.

Santiago and Latimer scored inside to open overtime, then Ayuso had Puerto Rico's next eight points as the Puerto Ricans opened an 88-80 lead.

Yao had six points during a 10-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters that gave China a 64-54 lead with 9:13 remaining in regulation. But Puerto Rico got back in the game when Yao went to the bench shortly after with his fourth foul.

One of Yao's fouls came when he traded light head butts with Puerto Rican center Peter Ramos with 5:59 left in the second quarter. Ramos fouled Yao, who put his head against Ramos' to move him away. Ramos responded with his head butt, and both players were called for fouls.

China scored the first nine points and led by 10 later in the first quarter after consecutive 3-pointers by former NBA player Wang Zhizhi. Puerto Rico rallied to take a 39-38 halftime lead on Rick Apodaca's layup in the closing seconds.

Latimer scored 13 points for Puerto Rico. Zhu Fangyu had 18 for China and Wang Shipeng added 13.

Italy 64, Senegal 56
SAPPORO, Japan -- Matteo Soragna scored 15 points and Marco Mordente added 14 as Italy advanced to the second round.

Italy (3-0), which faces the U.S. on Wednesday, trailed by 12 points with just over three minutes left in the third quarter before closing the period with a 10-1 run.

Andrea Michelori's layup with 5:47 remaining put the Italians up 52-51, their first lead since the opening quarter. Italy put the game away with a 14-0 run midway through the fourth quarter and held Senegal to only 11 points in the final period.

Maleye N'Doye scored 16 points, Sitapha Savane added 12 and El Kabir Pene had 10 for Senegal (0-3), which committed 22 turnovers.

Italy shot 25 percent from 3-point range.

Senegal fell behind 11-6 in the opening minutes, but rallied to take a 25-21 lead midway through the second quarter. The Senegalese stretched their lead to 31-25 on a breakaway dunk by Jules Aw with 1:53 left in the first half.

Group C
Lithuania 106, Qatar 65
HAMAMATSU, Japan -- Kristov Lavrinovic scored 20 points and Lithuania used tenacious defense to cruise to a victory.

Darius Lavrinovic -- Kristov's twin brother -- finished with 12 points for Lithuania (1-2).

Adbul Ali led Qatar (0-3) with 20 points, while Turki Ali added 11.

The game was all but over in the first 6 minutes of the opening period as Qatar was unable to contain Lithuania's towering trio of Darius Lavrinovic, Darius Songaila and Linas Kleiza. The trio -- with Songaila the shortest at 6-foot-9 -- combined for 18 points in the first quarter, including many overpowering jams from under the basket.

The Lithuanians, whose biggest international victory was a preliminary-round win over the United States at the 2004 Olympics, were as tough in their own end.

Their zone defense forced Qatar to try low-percentage outside shots that they failed to convert, and Lithuania used a 19-6 run to take a 22-9 lead near the end of the first quarter.

Greece 72, Australia 69
HAMAMATSU, Japan -- Nikos Zisis' 3-pointer with 2 seconds left gave Greece the win.

Zisis' shot came after Greece (3-0) rallied from three points down. Andrew Bogut scored six points in 30 seconds to put the Australians up by three with less than two minutes left.

Greece advanced to the second round with the win.

Greece took a 39-34 halftime lead on Dimitris Diamantidis' 3-pointer at the buzzer. Diamantidis scored 13 of his 20 points in the first half.

Bogut led Australia (1-2) with 18 points.

Turkey 73, Brazil 71
HAMAMATSU, Japan -- Leandro Barbosa missed two free throws with six seconds left Tuesday as Turkey escaped with the win.

Barbosa had converted two free throws 20 seconds earlier to pull Brazil, which had trailed for most of the game, to within a point at 70-69.

But after consecutive timeouts and with the game on the line, the Phoenix Suns guard knocked both free throws off the rim.

After a series of free throws by each team in the remaining seconds, Turkey (3-0) emerged with the win and advanced to the second round.

Serkan Erdogan scored 21 points to lead Turkey. Barbosa was Brazil's top scorer with 26 points.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press