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Australia Receives a Dream Matchup

July 31, 1996|Times Wire Services

Croatia had NBA players. Australia's best player was an NBA reject. So what?

Croatia got 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists from Toni Kukoc of the Chicago Bulls and no points and only two rebounds from Dino Radja of the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, the opening day of medal-round play.

Australia got 26 points from Andrew Gaze, who played at Seton Hall and briefly in the NBA, and a four-point play from Tony Ronaldson with 34 seconds to play in a 73-71 upset of Croatia, the defending silver medalists.

The Aussies earned a semifinal game against the Dream Team. They have never won a basketball medal.

The other semifinal will pit Lithuania, a 99-66 over Greece, against Yugoslavia, which crushed China, 128-67.

It was 66-66 when Australia (5-1) worked the shot clock down to five seconds and Ronaldson let fly with a three-point shot. He was fouled by Radja and made the free throw to complete the four-point play.

Ronaldson finished with 17 points.

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