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OLYMPIC REPORT / 11 DAYS TO THE GAMES : BASKETBALL

Embarrassed U.S. Team Pounds Brazil

July 08, 1996

A day after a near-debacle--a mere six-point victory over a team of U.S. collegians--the U.S. Olympic team, finally playing a team of foreigners, played hard for the entire 40 minutes and pounded Brazil, 109-68, Sunday at Cleveland.

The 41-point victory came on the second stop on a five-game exhibition tour. The next game is Wednesday night at Phoenix against the Chinese Olympic team.

"We didn't even deserve to win that game Saturday," Grant Hill said. "It was embarrassing, and those last 22 hours were the longest of my life. But when you play poorly, you want to get back on the court for the next game. And we were anxious to get out there today."

It showed, as all the laziness and carelessness of Saturday was replaced by a dominating display of basketball that is expected from this Olympic team.

"There was a sense of urgency today. We had to show that we still had it," Penny Hardaway said.

Mitch Richmond led the United States with 21 points. Scottie Pippen had 13 and Shaquille O'Neal, Hardaway, Reggie Miller and Hill had 10 apiece.

Oscar Schmidt led Brazil with 21 points.

*

U.S. Olympic team member Charles Barkley has been accused of hitting Jeb Tyler, 23, of Spencerport, N.Y., in the nose during a fight at a Cleveland bar, according to police reports. Tyler filed a complaint early Sunday accusing Barkley, who in turn filed a report against Tyler.

No criminal charges were filed.

Police reports obtained by WEWS-TV in Cleveland indicated the fight took place at 1:30 a.m. at The Basement in a part of town known as "The Flats."

Tyler said he and a friend introduced themselves to Barkley, Reggie Miller and a woman. Tyler said his friend began talking with the woman when Barkley told them they had to leave.

"He said it like three times, 'You got to leave,' " Tyler said. "I said, 'No, I'm not leaving the bar.' Then I said, 'How about you leave the bar?' As soon as I said that, he punched me in the nose."

Tyler said he and Barkley both landed a few punches.

Barkley and Miller were stopped after trying to leave in a cab. Miller, Barkley and Cleveland Indian left fielder Albert Belle had dinner together earlier in the evening. No accounts indicate that Belle was at the bar where the alleged altercation took place.

*

Boston Celtic forward Dino Radja scored 18 points to lead the Croatian national team to a 69-65 victory over the Lithuanian national team in Rosemont, Ill. Chicago Bull forward Toni Kukoc had 13 points and five rebounds for Croatia.

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