Indianapolis, USA, September 7 (AP) - The teams that defeated the United States will be the ones
competing for the gold medal at the World Championships.
Yugoslavia took control by outscoring New Zealand by 17 points in the third
quarter in an 89-78 victory Saturday before a small but enthusiastic crowd of
their supporters at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Yugoslavia will play Argentina, an 86-80 winner over Germany in the day's other
semifinal, for the gold medal at 2000 GMT Sunday.
"I think you're going to see an epic game," New Zealand coach Tab Baldwin
said. "The two most complete teams are playing for the championship."
Milos Vujanic, a second-round draft pick of the New York Knicks last June, hit
a 3-pointer with 4:21 left in the third quarter to give Yugoslavia its first lead,
57-56. After Phil Jones made a layup, Vujanic hit another 3 to put Yugoslavia
ahead for good.
The final will be a matchup of the teams that stunned America earlier this week,
handing the United States its first two losses when using NBA players in
The U.S. team played Spain for fifth place late Saturday night.
Yugoslavia will be seeking to become the first team since Brazil in 1963 to win
consecutive World Championships.
"Tomorrow we get a chance to show whether we are the best team in the world.
We're going to be playing against the best team, up to this point, in the
tournament," Yugoslavia coach Svetislav Pesic said.
With its contingent of chanting, flag-waving fans loudly cheering them on,
Yugoslavia got a balanced offensive attack as Dejan Koturovic scored 18,
Marko Jaric had 16, Dejan Bodiroga added 14 and Vlade Divac scored 13. Peja
Stojakovic shot just 4-for-14 for 10 points. Yugoslavia outrebounded New
Yugoslavia outscored New Zealand 27-10 in the third quarter to turn a 48-39
halftime deficit into a 66-58 lead. New Zealand was unable to put together a
rally in the fourth quarter.
Argentina might be without its best player in the championship game after
Emanuel Ginobili, who will play for the San Antonio Spurs next season, went
down with an ankle injury in the third quarter against Germany.
"Everybody in the basketball world knows what Ginobili's injury meant at this
level," coach Ruben Magnano said, "but our way of thinking is to face the world
with the soldiers we have and forget about the ones that are injured."
Yugoslavia is likely to be without Vladimir Radmanovic, who plays in the NBA
for the Seattle SuperSonics. Radmanovic left the bench and watched the fourth
quarter from the stands.
"Right now, my coach does not like my face and I do not like his," Radmanovic
Argentina center Ruben Wolkowyski, who was once a teammate of Patrick
Ewing's in Seattle, guaranteed a victory in the gold medal game.
New Zealand, which was expected to finish somewhere in the lower half of the
16-team field, was not intimidated by the Yugoslavs and their roster of NBA and
Center Ed Book, an American who moved to New Zealand more than a decade
ago, stepped out and hit two 3-pointers in the first minute. New Zealand moved
out to a 10-point lead by the midpoint of the quarter and held onto it through
most of the second quarter.
Jaric, who will be a rookie with the Los Angeles Clippers in the upcoming NBA
season, had 11 points in the second quarter to keep Yugoslavia close.
Koturovic had 14 of his 18 points after halftime, and Divac scored 11 of his 13 in
the second half.
"We need to win (Sunday)," Koturovic said, "otherwise it doesn't matter that we
beat the U.S. We want to win the gold."
Other semifinal pair: Argentina - Germany 86-80
Third Place match: Germany - New Zealand
FINAL: Yugoslavia - Argentina