The starless United States team got 20 points from former Syracuse player Wendell Alexis and beat Argentina 87-74 in the World Basketball Championships Sunday.
The Americans (3-1), who got scoring from all 12 players, never trailed but didn't pull away until late. Jimmy Oliver had 18 points and Michael Hawkins 15.Alexis plays in Germany, Oliver in Spain and Hawkins for the Greek League team Olympiakos, which plays its home games at the Peace and Friendship arena, the site of Sunday's win.
"It's a tremendous asset to have those guys," coach Rudy Tomjanovich said, "because they feel comfortable with the (international) style of basketball."
The U.S. led 47-38 at halftime, but Argentina tied it 54-54 with 14:27 to play and it was a 2-point game with four minutes left. Then, the Americans went on a decisive 14-3 run.
"Our game plan is to take whatever open shots are presented," Tomjanovich said. "Today the team did a tremendous job of finding the open man.
"This team has come a long way. I was very pleased with their fire today. I liked the way that we ended the game. We had the lead, played smart, spread it out and made them come to us. We didn't have guys looking to score more points."
Alexis had 15 points, including three 3-pointers from the corners, during a five-minute stretch of the first half when the United States took the leads.
Spain (4-0), the next opponent for the United States, beat Brazil 73-63, as Alberto Angulo and Ignacio Rodriguez each scored 17 points.
Yugoslavia and Greece also improved to 4-0. Yugoslavia beat Canada 95-55 and Greece topped Puerto Rico 71-64.
In other games, Russia (3-1) downed Italy 71-55, and Lithuania (3-1) lost for the first time, 71-61 to Australia.
Yugoslavia was led by Miroslav Beric with 13 points and Dejan Tomasevic with 14 rebounds as all 12 players scored. The Yugoslavs burst to a 44-23 halftime lead against Canada with dominating defense. Yugoslavia then made a 19-2 run early in the second half and led by as many as 43.
Nicos Economou's 19 points helped Greece beat Puerto Rico.
Russia defeated Italy with the help of Sergei Babkov's 26 points and Mikhail Mikhailov's 15 rebounds.
Lithuania led Australia 37-35 at halftime, but the Aussies pulled away with a 14-2 run early in the second half.
Former Seton Hall star Andrew Gaze, who scored 24, took charge in the final five minutes, scoring all 10 of Australia's points during one stretch - six on 3-pointers.
The Aussies, who have lost two games by a combined five points, shut down Arturas Karnisovas. He had only 10 points after averaging a tournament-high 22.7 in the first three games.
In consolation games, Nigeria (1-3) defeated South Korea (0-4) 89-65 and Japan (1-3) topped Senegal (0-4) 66-55.