Dream ends for Hawkins, U.S.

Sunday, August 9, 1998

BY The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- A controversial foul by former Xavier star Michael Hawkins in the final minute turned a chance for victory into defeat for the underdog American team in the World Basketball Championships Saturday.

The U.S. team, thrown together a month ago in the absence of NBA players, squandered a 10-point lead in the final three minutes, losing 66-64 to Russia in the semifinals.

With 10 seconds left and the score tied at 64, Hawkins, looking to penetrate, was called for an offensive foul.

After a timeout, Russia inbounded the ball under its own basket to Sergey Panov, who dribbled the length of the court and scored on a layup with four seconds remaining. Gerard King, Kiwane Garris and Hawkins passed up chances to step in front of the 6-8 Panov.

Wendell Alexis hit a three-point shot from 30 feet that would have won the game, but time had clearly run out.

Hawkins thought the foul against him was a poor call, and so did U.S. coach Rudy Tomjanovich.

"We knew the officiating was going to be crazy here," Tomjanovich said. "I'm sure there's a bad taste in everybody's mouth about how it was dominated by one guy (the referee) with the whistle at the end.

"But we should have had enough of a cushion that they couldn't have taken it away."

"We had it under control, but then we played like a real young team and they took the game from us," said David Wood. "They definitely surprised us at the end. The guy (Panov) made a great play. He just took over the game and made a championship move."

Hawkins, one of the leading scorers in the tournament for the U.S. team, was held to six points.

The seasoned Russians, essentially the same team that lost to Dream Team II by 46 points in the championship game four years ago, were led by 30 points from Sergey Babkov.

The Russians will play Yugoslavia, the European champion and 1996 Olympic silver medalist, for the title Sunday. Yugoslavia beat Greece 78-73 in the other semifinal.

The Americans will play the Greeks today for the bronze. If the Americans lose, they would be the first U.S. team to come home without a medal in the worlds since the 1978 team finished fifth.

"We basically shot ourselves in the foot, which is what a lot of people at home thought we were going to do," said Ashraf Amaya of the U.S. team.

"I would say the Dream Team probably would have beat them by 50," Amaya said. "The Dream Team is the Dream Team, but we're not the Dream Team. It's not fair to make the comparison."

U.S. (6-2) -- Alexis 3-9 0-2 6, Sasser 4-7 0-0 8, Amaya 2-4 1-1 5, Hawkins 2-6 1-1 6, Oliver 4-12 0-0 9, Langdon 0-0 0-0 0, Garris 1-3 0-0 2, J.King 3-8 2-2 8, G.King 3-4 4-6 10, Wood 3-5 0-0 8, Miller 1-1 0-2 2. Totals 26-59 8-14 64.

RUSSIA (7-1) -- Koudellin 2-8 0-0 6, Kissourine 1-5 1-1 3, Babkov 9-14 8-8 30, Morgunov 0-0 0-0 0, Kurashov 0-0 0-0 0, Karassev 4-12 0-2 10, Pachoutine 1-2 1-2 3, Domani 0-0 0-0 0, Tikhonenko 0-1 1-2 1, Mikhailov 3-8 0-1 6, Panov 2-5 2-4 7, Nossov 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 22-56 13-22 66.

Halftime_U.S. 39, Russia 37. 3-Point goals_U.S. 4-20 (Wood 2-2, Hawkins 1-4, Oliver 1-7, Garris 0-1, J.King 0-1, Alexis 0-5), Russia 9-22 (Babkov 4-6, Koudellin 2-7, Karassev 2-7, Panov 1-2). Rebounds_U.S. 38 (Alexis, Amaya 7), Russia 28 (Mikhailov 7). Assists_U.S. 4 (Hawkins 3), Russia 8 (Karassev 2). Total fouls_U.S. 26, Russia 17.

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