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Easy Win for Serbia-Montenegro

August 04, 2004|From Associated Press

Igor Rakocevic and Milos Vujanic combined for 31 points for Serbia-Montenegro in a surprisingly easy 93-80 victory over 2003 European champion Lithuania at Belgrade on Tuesday night.

Playing in front of its home fans, the team formerly known as Yugoslavia had its best pre-Olympic performance to win the Diamond Ball Tournament.

Serbia-Montenegro, winner of the 2002 World Basketball Championships, plays an exhibition game Friday against the United States.

Yao Ming was named the tournament's most valuable player, but China finished fourth after committing 36 turnovers in an 84-74 loss to Argentina.

Australia defeated Angola, 70-64, for fifth place.

Rakocevic, who spent one unproductive season with the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, scored 19 points. Vujanic, whose NBA rights are owned by the Phoenix Suns, had 12 points, three assists and three steals.

Dejan Bodiroga added 15 points and Dejan Tomasevic had 13 for Serbia-Montenegro, which lost twice to Spain and once to Lithuania in previous tuneup games.

Darius Songaila of the Sacramento Kings scored 18 to lead Lithuania.

The crowd gave a loud cheer during the third quarter when the final score of the U.S.-Italy game was announced over the public-address system.

"I'm shocked, I'm really shocked," said Lithuania guard Sarunas Jasikevicius, who missed a shot just before the buzzer in the semifinals of the 2000 Olympics to allow to U.S. team to escape with a two-point victory. "But you know, they're also people. In a one-game situation anything can happen."

*

Four middlemen claim in meetings secretly taped by a BBC TV program that they could secure IOC members' votes in bidding for the 2012 Olympics. The show, which offers no conclusive evidence of bribery, will air in Britain tonight.

Only one IOC member, Ivan Slavkov of Bulgaria, is specifically implicated. He is shown discussing how to influence votes, but his comments are ambiguous, and he and one of the middlemen, Goran Takac, denied any wrongdoing at a news conference Tuesday. Takac said they played along to expose potential corruption.

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