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Canada, Australia Get Big Wins

September 26, 2000|From Associated Press

Steve Nash led Canada to its biggest international basketball victory ever and made all the tiebreaker talk pointless.

Two hours later, Andrew Gaze and Shane Heal led Australia to its biggest win of these Olympics.

With Nash getting 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Canada beat Yugoslavia, 83-75, Monday night to finish first in Group B in men's basketball and avoid a possible quarterfinal meeting with the United States.

Heal and Gaze combined for 48 points as Australia beat Spain, 91-80, and found its way to the quarterfinals after a shaky start to the tournament.

Thursday's quarterfinal matchups will be: United States-Russia; Lithuania-Yugoslavia; Canada-France; and Italy-Australia. The winners of the first two games will meet in one semifinal and the other winners will meet in the second.

Canada (4-1), not considered among the medal favorites entering this tournament, won its group by beating the reigning world champion (Yugoslavia) and the host country.

"I told them this would be the biggest game in the history of our country, and I told them that there would be a lot of Canadians up late watching this game, so let's not let them down," said Canada Coach Jay Triano, a player on his country's last Olympic team in 1988. "I told them they can enjoy it for one day, then we have to get ready for France."

Australia 91, Spain 80--Gaze, the five-time Olympian, had 11 points and Heal added eight in a 23-4 run that gave Australia a 69-51 lead with 8:51 to play. The crowd of 8,398 at The Dome was roaring, and Gaze and Heal brought the noise level higher with each of the three three-pointers they hit to start the run.

"We are very relieved to have a chance to move on and fulfill our goals," said Gaze, second to Brazil's Oscar Schmidt on the Olympic career scoring list. "It's great that we have a chance to look ahead."


New Zealand 72, Senegal 69--Tania Brunton scored 17 points and New Zealand, making its debut in the sport, finished 11th in the 12-team field.

The country with the shortest trip to get to Sydney lost its first five games by an average of 34 points.

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