BRISBANE, Australia -- Jermaine O'Neill scored 22 points and
Andre Miller hit a layup with 25 seconds left in overtime as the
U.S. men's basketball team survived an upset bid and beat Brazil
106-98 in the semifinal round of the Goodwill Games.
The Americans will face Argentina, a 69-63 semifinal winner over
Australia, in Sunday's gold medal game.
The Americans raced to a 19-7 lead in the first quarter, but
Brazil countered with a 20-10 run in the second quarter. Both teams
squandered a chance to break a 90-all tie in the final seconds of
regulation, and the U.S. team used a 16-8 run in the extra period
to clinch a berth in the title game.
The margin of victory was the smallest for an American team
since an 85-83 victory over Lithuania in the semifinals of the
Sydney Olympics last year.
"We came out lackadaisical, we underestimated them," said
Baron Davis of the Charlotte Hornets. "You can't let a team like
this stick around."
Kenyon Martin scored 18 points, and Andre Miller added 16 for
For Brazil, Demetreus Ferraaiu and Helio Garcia each had 24
The U.S. team, coming off three lopsided victories, used
consecutive 3-pointers by Mike Miller and Davis for a 54-43 lead at
Brazil closed within 79-67 after three quarters.
In overtime, the Americans moved out to a 101-98 lead with one
minute left and capitalized on three Brazilian turnovers. Miller's
shot clinched the victory.
"Brazil did a great job -- they really controlled things
offensively, they moved the ball well and they outhustled us at
times," U.S. coach Flip Saunders said. "Their guards really hurt
us, they penetrated our zone defense and found people open."
Saunders said his young team will learn from the near-loss.
"We were placed in a situation where we were fighting for our
lives," Saunders said. "It will be a great learning experience --
you find out that any time you step on the court, you are going to
"I think that when you win games by 30 or 70 points, you have
the tendency sometime to have a bit of slippage. Sometimes you have
a game like this -- and hopefully you win games like this -- to wake
you up a little bit."