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U.S. finishes unbeaten in pool, will play Australia

8/24/2006 - NBA Chris Bosh Dwyane Wade + more

SAPPORO, Japan -- Dwyane Wade rose from his seat to
acknowledge the crowd chanting for him in the closing minutes of
the United States' victory.

That was the only work Wade put in all night.

Wade had the night off, and the rest of the Americans
essentially got a breather, too, in a 103-58 victory over Senegal
on Thursday night at the world championships.

Even if his team didn't miss him, the fans did, and began
chanting for the NBA finals MVP with less than 4 minutes to play.
Wade eventually stood and waved, drawing a roar.

"That was a first for me," Wade said. "It was a great
experience, though. We play our heart out here to entertain. We
gained some fans on this trip."

Chris Bosh scored 20 points and LeBron James added 17 in limited
duty for the U.S. team, which remained unbeaten.

The Group D champions depart Friday morning for Saitama, where
they will face Australia, the fourth-place team from Group C, on
Sunday in the round of 16.

That will surely be more difficult than this one, where the U.S.
led by as many as 45 against the overmatched African runner-up.

"It's the medal round," Wade said. "Everyone is good. We've
got to come in and prepare for them like we've been doing every
other game and take it from there."

James scored 15 points in 13 minutes of the first half, then sat
along with Carmelo Anthony for the first seven minutes of the third
quarter and returned for only a few minutes. Anthony finished with
12 points and played only 14 minutes, one night after setting an
American record with 35.

Elhadji N'doye scored 25 points for Senegal (0-5), the
last-place team in Group D.

"We've got players, so we just need to reorganize," Senegal's
Makhtar N'diaye said. "Our team's going to do that, and our future
is pretty bright."

The Americans were coming off their toughest test of the
tournament, needing huge second halves from Anthony and Wade to
help them rally from a 12-point deficit to beat Italy 94-85 on
Wednesday.

But Wade, who appeared to land on his hand after a hard foul
during that victory, wasn't needed this time. He showed up on the
court a little more than 15 minutes before the tip and stretched,
but otherwise just watched his teammates.

Anthony started the game alongside him on the bench. With
nothing at stake, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski sent out a lineup that
included Brad Miller -- who had played in only two of the first four
games -- along with usual reserves Joe Johnson, Kirk Hinrich and
Antawn Jamison.

The Americans got off to a bit of a slow start and trailed by
one midway through the first quarter. A 19-0 run gave them a 31-13
lead early in the second, and after that Krzyzewski was able to mix
and match while making sure his stars didn't play too much in his
team's fifth game in six nights.

The extra rest will come in handy starting Sunday.

"There are no grand illusions that this is going to be an easy
road," Shane Battier said.

Every U.S. player except for Elton Brand, who played only 3
minutes in the first half, had scored by the break. Anthony's
3-pointer with under 4 seconds to go gave the Americans a 58-24
lead at the break.

"It was great for other guys to get minutes that haven't played
a lot and play well," Brand said.

Bosh, seeing limited time in Krzyzewski's 10-man rotation for
most of pool play, scored 15 points in the second half. He made a
pair of free throws to give the Americans a 101-58 lead with 2:04
remaining, and Jamison followed with a bucket 30 seconds later to
give the Americans their largest lead.

"Chris has been a guy, who when he has played, has done a good
job for us on the offensive glass," Wade said. "But it's 12 guys
on the team, so I think Coach, like he told everybody coming in, he
doesn't know who he's going to play any given night so everyone has
to continue to be ready."

Johnson had 11 points for the U.S., which shot 51 percent. Bosh
grabbed 10 rebounds, leading the Americans' 53-32 advantage on the
boards.