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Deliberate Argentina slows Lithuania's run for medal

Juan Espil scored 25 points, including four free throws in the final 12 seconds Monday night, to lead Argentina to a 65-61 victory over Lithuania.

Argentina (1-1), using the same slowdown strategy that kept it close to the Dream Team for a half before losing 96-68, led 48-39 with 11:31 to play. It seemed to be in good shape despite losing starting power forward Marcelo Nicola to a knee injury with four minutes left in the first half. There was no immediate word on Nicola's condition.

Lithuania (1-1), which was coming off a dramatic double-overtime victory over Croatia in its opener, went on a 14-0 run with 7-foot-2 center Arvydas Sabonis of the Portland Trail Blazers dominating inside to score 10 of the points.

Argentina took the lead for good at 58-57 on a free throw by Espil with 1:07 to play. Espil added a layup between missed three-pointers by Rimas Kurtinaitis.

Kurtinaitis, the hero of the win over Croatia, hit a three-pointer with 17 seconds left to make it 61-60. But Espil made two free throws five seconds later and added two more with nine seconds left after Sarunas Marciulionis of Lithuania made one of two free throws with 10 seconds to play.

Marcelo Milanesio added 15 points for Argentina, all but three on three-pointers.

Sabonis had 30 points and 11 rebounds for Lithuania, which played without injured forward Arturas Karnishovas.

In other action, Arijan Komazec was 6-for-7 from three-point range and finished with 36 points as Croatia cruised past China 109-78; and Nikos Economou scored 36 points to lead Greece to its first-ever victory in men's Olympic basketball, 89-87 over Brazil, despite 32 points from sharpshooter Oscar Schmidt.

Jose Ortiz dominated inside with 37 points and 14 rebounds and Puerto Rico scored the game's final 10 points for a 98-86 victory over pesky South Korea; and Sasa Obradovic led five double-figure scorers with 18 points as Yugoslavia coasted to a 91-68 victory over Australia.