The United States basketball team advanced to the gold medal game Friday but the Soviet Union squad that prevailed three days earlier failed to qualify for a rematch at the Goodwill Games.
Kenny Anderson scored 25 points and Billy Owens added 22 to lead the United States past previously unbeaten Brazil 112-95 and into the championship game Sunday against Yugoslavia, which eliminated the Soviet Union, 84-78.Soviet frustration extended to gymnastics despite a gold medal Friday in team competition. U.S. women scared the Soviets before settling for a silver, their best showing ever in a major meet against Soviet rivals. Furthermore, the top Soviet gymnast did so poorly her coaches pulled a technicality from the rule book to send her to Saturday's all-around finals.
While athletes competed in nine sports on the lightest medal day so far, one official hinted the Games might not even be worth contesting in 1994 as planned.
Paul Beckham, president of the Goodwill Games, hinted that Ted Turner may not stage a 1994 Games in the Soviet Union. Turner has told stockholders these Games could lose more than $26 million.
"It has to be fiscally prudent," Beckham said. "That doesn't mean it has to make money. That's not what I mean. But it has to make sense. And it's a judgment decision between the quality of the event and what it cost to get there."
The Soviet Union edged Yugoslavia 29-27 in overtime for the gold medal in team handball. Spain beat the United States 24-19 for the bronze.
The United States has won 105 medals, 41 of them gold. The Soviet Union has taken 33 golds and 94 medals overall through 103 medal events. Another gold medal was to be decided later Friday in the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around competition.
Dino Radja scored 31 points to spark Yugoslavia's basketball triumph, which helped avenge a loss to the Soviets in the 1988 Olympic final. Yugoslavia shot 57 percent from the field and outrebounded the Soviets 37-25. Radja scored 8 points in a run of 12 straight by Yugoslavia over the final 4:42 of the first half, boosting the 1989 European champions to a 45-36 halftime lead. The Soviets had beaten the Americans in round-robin play but gave a hint they were struggling with a loss to Puerto Rico.
American gymnast Kim Zmeskal, suffering such pain from tendinitis that her participation was in doubt two days ago, led individual scorers with 39.661 points. Zmeskal, 14, of Houston, outscored Soviet Natalia Kalinina, 15.
"Her problem was well known, but all of our girls had injuries and problems to fight," said U.S. coach Bela Karolyi, the defected Romanian national coach who guided both Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton to Olympic championships. "This is a very young team, and we gave the Soviets a very good run for their money. We issued a world-class challenge."
The Soviets, defending Olympic champions, opened the door for a possible upset during their first event, making a series of uncharacteristic mistakes on the uneven bars. World champion Svetlana Boguinskaia of the Soviet Union fell and failed to qualify for all-around competition. Boguinskaia, 17, had just performed a release move on the upper part of the bars and, as she came around to regrip, slipped and fell.
She was not injured but scored only a 9.275 after an automatic half-point deduction and finished 10th overall with 39.049 points.
The Soviets inserted her into all-around competition in place of Tatiana Lisenko, 15, the Soviet junior champion who finished ahead of Boguinskaia. Rules allow a team to substitute if a gymnast defaults for valid reasons, but the Soviets did not say why they switched.
Wrestling twins Jim and Bill Scherr celebrated their 29th birthday by overwhelming their opening foes and helping the U.S. team into a gold-medal match Saturday against the Soviets. Both teams went 3-0 in round-robin competition.
Jim Scherr defeated Bulgaria's Draguya Rusev, 7-0, Japan's Akeo Akaishi, 16-0, and Turkey's Efraim Kamberoglu at 90 kilograms (198 pounds). Bill pinned Japan's Anabu Nakanishi in 1:47 of his only match at 100 kilograms (220 pounds).
Reliever Shigetoshi Hasagawa retired the first 15 Mexican batters he faced and Japan scored five runs in the eighth inning for an 11-4 baseball victory, setting up a showdown Saturday with the United States. Cuba, another medal favorite, opened with an 11-1 triumph over Taiwan shortened in the seventh by the mercy rule.
In another team sport, Jesus Rollan made 12 saves and Spain beat the United States 10-7 in water polo, eliminating the winless Americans from medal contention.
Andrew Gaze, who helped Seton Hall to the 1989 NCAA Final Four, scored 50 points in Australia's 106-78 consolation-round basketball victory over Italy. Gaze sank 9-of-12 3-point shots and 16-of-21 attempts from the field in Australia's first triumph of the tournament.
Jan Viktorsson scored 4:48 into the third period, lifting Sweden past Czechoslovakia 5-4 in the opening game of the round-robin hockey tournament.