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France Takes Out Gaze, Australia

September 30, 2000|From Associated Press

There'll be no chance at a gold medal for Andrew Gaze.

On the night Gaze set the record for most men's Olympic basketball games played, France stunned Australia, 76-52, Friday to advance to its first gold medal game in 52 years.

France, which last reached the semifinals in 1956, started strong against Australia by going up 11-4. It then took control with a 13-0 run and coasted after holding the Australians without a field goal for the opening 7:18 of the second half to take a 57-32 lead.

When the game ended, an obviously disappointed Gaze walked among the celebrating French players to offer his congratulations.

France (4-3) will play the United States for the gold medal.

Gaze broke the record with his 39th Olympic game, one more than fellow five-time Olympian Oscar Schmidt of Brazil. Gaze's 40th and last game will be for the bronze medal.

"Our goal is still achievable," Gaze said of winning a medal. "We still have a chance to do something great for Australian basketball. This has left a very bad taste in our mouths but all is not lost."

France played without second-leading scorer Yann Bonato, who ruptured his Achilles' tendon in the quarterfinal win over Canada.

Laurent Sciarra had three three-point baskets in the first half and Antoine Rigaudeau had two as France took a 44-29 halftime lead and quieted a crowd of 14,653 in the SuperDome.

Italy 69, Yugoslavia 59--Gregor Fucka had 17 points and seven rebounds as Italy matched the fifth-place finish of its last Olympic appearance in 1984. Dejan Tomasevic had 13 points for Yugoslavia, the reigning world champion.

Canada 86, Russia 83--Steve Nash scored eight of Canada's 10 points in the second overtime in the seventh-place game. Nash finished with 14 points and three assists for Canada, which went 5-2 in the tournament.

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