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Argentina Wins Gold

August 29, 2004|Bill Dwyre

ATHENS — Every 52 years or so, Argentina turns the Olympics on its ear, as was the case when its men's basketball team completed a huge day for the country with an 84-69 victory over Italy in the gold-medal game here Saturday night.

Argentina completed its dazzling march to the gold that picked up steam with a victory over the United States in the semifinals Friday night.

The last time an Argentine team or athlete won a gold medal of any kind was, well, earlier Saturday, when its soccer team beat Paraguay, 1-0. Before that, it had been the Helsinki Olympics in 1952.

Argentina got its normal solid game from its star, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, who scored 16 points and added six assists and six rebounds. Teammate Pepe Sanchez also helped keep the Argentine offense flowing with five assists.

But the leader for the winners was Luis Alberto Scola, with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

Italy, a surprise finalist after upsetting Lithuania, spread its scoring around, Gianmarco Pozzecco and Matteo Soragna each scoring 12 points.

Argentina shot 52% and won going away, outscoring the Italians in the final period, 24-15.

It was the first medal of any kind in men's basketball for Argentina.

-- Bill Dwyre

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