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Argentina upset U.S. cagers

Alan Crosby in Athens | August 28, 2004 01:14 IST

The U.S. men's basketball team were beaten by Argentina on Friday, denying them an Olympic gold medal for the first time since 1992 when NBA players started competing.

Argentina shocked the three-times defending champions 89-81 in their semi-final, in what has been a nightmare tournament for the former U.S. "Dream Team" and leaving them hoping for bronze.

Since 1992 the U.S. won three straight golds and captivated the world with their play.

But this year's edition of the team, put together just two weeks before the Games started, was in trouble early, losing preliminary round games to both Puerto Rico and Lithuania.

Argentina took a 43-38 lead into the locker room and never surrendered their advantage the rest of the way as the Americans tried desperately to get back into the game.

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili made his team mate Tim Duncan and the rest of the Americans pay for an off shooting night, dropping in 29 points on nine of 13 shooting.

Duncan fouled out with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, ending a quiet night with just 10 points and six rebounds.

Stephon Marbury led the U.S. with 18 points, but the team shot only 27 percent from the three-point line as it once again struggled to find the mark.

Argentina will play the winner of the second semi-final between Lithuania and Italy. The U.S. play the loser in the bronze medal game. Both of those games will be played on Saturday.

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