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The Inside Track | NEWSWIRE

O'Neal Scores 22 to Lead U.S.

August 27, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

The United States avenged a defeat of a year ago by defeating Argentina, 94-86, Tuesday in the second round of the men's basketball Tournament of the Americas at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Fittingly for the U.S. team, the star was Jermaine O'Neal -- one of two players held over from last summer's team that finished a disappointing sixth at the world championships.

O'Neal scored 22 points and made one of the biggest plays of the game at the defensive end, blocking a shot by Fabricio Oberto with 1:13 left -- a play that led to a fast-break dunk by Vince Carter off a pass from Allen Iverson for an 89-83 lead.

The United States remained undefeated in this Olympic qualifying tournament.

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Pro Basketball

Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) acknowledged that he is part of an informal partnership with friend and developer Charles Kushner in preliminary talks to buy the New Jersey Nets of the NBA.

Toronto Raptor center Eric Montross, who hasn't played since breaking a bone in his left foot in the spring of 2002, is retiring.

Montross, 31, averaged 4.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in eight NBA seasons.

Toronto Coach Kevin O'Neill hired Tony Brown, Bob Beyer and Jim Sann as assistants, and rehired assistant Jay Triano, who had been let go shortly after O'Neill was hired in June.

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Miscellany

The U.S. defeated North Korea, 25-23, 25-14, 25-15, in a men's volleyball match in front of 5,000 and amid heavy security in the World University Games at Daegu, South Korea.

North Korea had threatened to withdraw its delegation from the Games unless South Korea apologized for failing to prevent anti-North Korea rallies at the Games and guaranteed heightened security.

Also at the Games, the U.S. lost to China, 97-54, in women's basketball and was eliminated from gold-medal contention, and Stanford's Dan Westcott won the 50-meter backstroke in 25.80 seconds.

The USA Boxing Olympic box-offs, which will determine the U.S. team for the 2004 Athens Olympics, will be held next year at Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission announced.

All-City center Lorenzo Mata, a 6-foot-9 senior from South Gate, has committed to UCLA. Mata joins guards Arron Afflalo of Compton Centennial and Jordan Farmar of Woodland Hills Taft as early commitments for first-year Coach Ben Howland.

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Passings

Jim Wacker, a former football coach at Texas Christian and Minnesota who won consecutive national championships in NAIA (at Texas Lutheran, 1974-75) and Division II (at Southwest Texas, 1981-82), died of cancer. He was 66.

Billy Hair, the most valuable player of the 1951 Orange Bowl after passing for 178 yards and one touchdown in Clemson's 15-14 victory over Miami, died Sunday. He was 74.

T.J. Simers is on vacation.

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