Who needs the Dream Team? It just took an extra five minutes for the United States to reclaim Goodwill Games gold.
Andre Miller of Utah took command down the stretch and the United States, which hadn't won a Goodwill basketball gold medal since the inaugural games in 1986, beat Australia 93-85 in overtime Friday night for the championship.It was the first major international men's title for a U.S. amateur team since the 1986 world championships, which took place after the Goodwill Games in Mos-cow.
The final victory didn't come easy for this U.S. team, but nothing did the whole tournament.
Miller, who led the Utes to the Final Four in March, scored 10 of his 18 points in the final four minutes of regulation and the overtime. He tied the game with the final basket of regulation with 1:08 left, and scored the first basket of overtime, 25 seconds in.
The United States never gave up that lead.
Wally Szczerbiak of Miami of Ohio and Elton Brand of Duke each had 15 points for the United States, while James Posey of Xavier added 13.
Australia was led by its veteran backcourt of Shane Heal, who had 38 points, and Andrew Gaze, who had 25. Their 3-point shooting kept Australia in front most of the way, but neither hit from beyond the arc in the final 61/2 minutes of regulation and overtime. Heal, who played with the Minnesota Timberwolves, finished with eight 3s, while Gaze, who led Seton Hall to the 1989 NCAA championship game, had three.
The United States won the gold medal in the inaugural Goodwill Games in 1986, but that was followed by a silver in 1990 and a bronze in 1994. Those were all college teams, with the NBA pros making up gold-medal Dream Teams for the Olympics and world championships since 1992.
Australia had never done better than its fifth-place finish in 1990.
The United States had the last chance at a win in regulation after a wild final minute.
Miller, who scored the United States' last six points of regulation, stole the ball in the corner and drove the length of the court for a layup with 1:08 left that made it 79-79.
Heal let fly with a 3-point attempt with 37 seconds left on the game clock and three on the 30-second shot clock. He missed, but Sam MacKinnon of Australia tapped the rebound out to Gaze who then stood and worked the clock down as the crowd of 9,673 chanted "U-S-A," letting fly a long 3 with seven seconds left. The U.S. team worked the ball down court, and Miller's off-balance jumper at the buzzer missed.
The only loss for the United States came in the opening game when they blew a 19-point second-half lead to Puerto Rico. Then came a tougher-than-expected win over China in which the U.S. team took control with an impressive closing 71/2 minutes.
The United States finally found its shooting touch during a 31-point win over Brazil in the final preliminary game and kept it up with an 89-76 semifinal victory over Lithuania.
Saulius Stombergas scored 19 of his 28 points in the first half as Lithuania crushed Puerto Rico 119-75 to win the bronze medal.
BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Karch Kiraly and Adam Johnson of the United States edged the No. 2 U.S. team of Sinjin Smith and Ricci Luyties 16-14 to reach the semifinals. Also advancing were Guilherme Marques and Para Ferreira of Brazil, the world's top team, who rallied from a 6-0 deficit for a 15-11 victory over Canada's John Child and Mark Heese Friday. Ferreira had seven blocks.
Julien Prosser and Leo Zahner of Australia beat Martin Conde and Esteban Martinez of Argentina 15-7 with the help of a 9-point run, and both teams advanced to the semis when defending champions Jan Kvalheim and Bjorn Maaseide of Norway lost to Martin and Paul Laciga of Switzerland 16-14.
DIVING: World champion Yu Zhuocheng of China won the men's 1-meter springboard by 4.38 points over teammate Zhou Yilin. Mark Ruiz of the United States won the bronze medal with a strong performance on his final dive, a reverse 21/2 somersault with a half twist, to hold off Germany's Andreas Wels.
RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS: Alina Kabayeva of Russia became the games' first quadruple-gold medalist, adding titles in the ribbon, clubs and hoop to her all-around rhythmic gold. She also took silver in the rope.