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World Basketball Championships : U.S. Survives a Scare From Puerto Rico

July 10, 1986|Associated Press

MALAGA, Spain — David Robinson of Navy hit a jumper from the side with a minute remaining in the game Wednesday to give the United States a 73-72 victory over Puerto Rico, the Americans' fourth straight victory in Group C at the World Basketball Championships.

Puerto Rico's Mario Morales stole the ball from Kenny Smith of North Carolina with five seconds left and missed a layup at the buzzer that would have given Puerto Rico (1-3) the victory.

In the final minute, possession changed at least six times on errant passes and steals.

Puerto Rico's Jerome Mincy, who played for the University of Alabama Birmingham, missed the first of a one-and-one situation with 24 seconds left that could have given Puerto Rico the lead.

Steve Kerr grabbed the rebound. Under international rules, there is a 30-second clock, so there was no need for the United States to shoot. Smith, however, attempted to score, and the United States lost possession to Morales, who made the final attempt.

With the victory, the United States clinched a spot in the top three and qualified for the next round beginning Sunday at Oviedo, Spain. The finals are at Madrid July 17-20.

The U.S. team will play its final game of the first round today against Italy (4-0) to determine first place in the six-team pool.

Robinson led the United States with 19 points and 8 rebounds. Morales scored 21 points for Puerto Rico.

In other games, Yugoslavia trounced Argentina, 87-68; Canada beat the Netherlands 96-79, and New Zealand edged Malaysia, 77-75, in Group D. China downed the Ivory Coast, 84-72, and Italy topped West Germany, 85-76, in Group C. Cuba beat Angola, 81-53; the Soviet Union routed Uruguay, 111-62, and Australia got past Israel, 98-91, in Group B. Brazil defeated Greece, 115-95; Spain trounced Panama, 125-70, and France downed South Korea, 101-84, in Group A.

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