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Aug. 27, 2004 at 11:55 PM
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Olympics focuses on basketball, track

ATHENS, Greece, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The next to last day at the Olympics will produce a new men's basketball champion with the possibility of another one for the U.S. women.

In men's basketball, Argentina downed the United States, 89-81 Friday night, while Italy beat Lithuania. That set up a final between two teams that have never finished higher than second place. Italy attained that mark in 1980 with a silver.

The U.S., which has never failed to medal at the Summer Olympics, will take on Lithuania again, this time for the bronze. The Americans lost to Lithuania 94-90 in an earlier game.

In women's play, the U.S. tries to win its third straight gold medal by taking on Australia, a team that has finished no higher than the silver medal.

There will be eight finals in track and field as the women go for gold in the high jump, 1500 meters, and 4x400 meter relay. The men will have medal events in the javelin throw, 800 meters, 5000 meters and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

-China won two medals in track and field Friday, again showing the depth of the Chinese athletic program. There were victories in both the men's 110-meter hurdles and the women's 10,000-meter run.

The U.S. women's 4x100-relay team, with Marion Jones on the squad, botched a baton pass and did not finish the race.

Despite disappointments around the Games, the United States still won six medals and officially has 89.


Funk, Johnson share Buick midway lead

CROMWELL, Conn., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Fred Funk and Zach Johnson share the 36-hole lead of the Buick championship with a pair of eight-under-par 132s.

Funk shot four-under 66 and Johnson came in with a 65 Friday. They were one stroke ahead of Hank Kuehne, who also had a 65.

First round leader Corey Pavin struggled to a two-over 72 and was tied with Jose Coceres, who carded a 66 on Friday. The pair shared fourth at six-under-par 134.


McGill takes 4-shot lead in Wachovia

KUTZTOWN, Pa., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Jill McGill fired an eight-under 64 Friday for a tournament record 14-under 130 and a four-shot lead midway through the Wachovia LPGA Classic.

Suzann Pettersen posted a nine-under 63 and joined Soo-Yun Kang, who carded a 66, in second place, knotted at 11-under-par 133 at Berkleigh Country Club.

Grace Park shot a six-under 66, while Shi Hyun Ahn posted a 67 for a fourth plade tie at 10 under.


Bovina, Dechy in New Haven finale

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Seventh-seeded Elena Bovina beat second-seeded and fellow Russian Elena Dementieva Friday to reach the Pilot Pen Tennis final.

Bovina eased past Dementieva, 6-1, 6-1, at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The Moscow native will take on Nathalie Dechy in the title match.

Dechy defeated Lisa Raymond, 6-4, 6-0, in the other semifinal.

Dechy and Bovina have split two previous meetings.


Lewis pleads not guilty to drug charges

ATLANTA, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on drug charges Friday.

Lewis, who faces federal drug conspiracy charges and an additional charge of attempting to possess cocaine, was not in the courtroom. He is scheduled to go on trial Nov. 1, in the middle of the 2004 NFL season.

The all-pro running back has been accused of trying to help a childhood friend buy up to 50 kilograms of cocaine in a 2000 deal that actually was part of an FBI sting operation.

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