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Lithuania Wins Bronze in Rout

October 01, 2000|ROBYN NORWOOD

SYDNEY, Australia — The bronze medals were hung around the necks of the Lithuanian players today, but they deserved the silver and probably were one shot from the gold.

"I wouldn't say it that way. I'd say we hoped not to meet the U.S. team until the finals," forward Mindaugas Timinskas said after Lithuania crushed Australia, 89-71, winning the bronze for the third consecutive Olympics.

Had Sarunas Jasikevicius' three-point shot at the buzzer gone in two days earlier in a two-point loss to the U.S., Lithuania would have been playing for the gold.

"They played great against the United States team and we were always wondering how they would rebound after a game when they were on the edge of creating sporting history by pulling one of the greatest upsets in the history of all sport," Australia's Andrew Gaze said.

"Now they've bounced back and I think they showed a lot of character and determination to do well."

Saulius Stombergas scored 28 points for Lithuania, and Gaze, playing his record 40th and final Olympic game, scored 22 for Australia.

Australia's Olympic performance was a bust.

The Boomers, hoping to win their first medal on their own soil, were blown out in the last two games.

They were without center Luc Longley in the bronze-medal game after Longley suffered a knee injury against France that is likely to keep him out as much as two months, delaying his debut with the New York Knicks.

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