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Brazil routes U.S., moves to gold game

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa scored 18 points to lead Brazil to a 93-75 victory over the United States at the World Championship qualifying tournament on Saturday.

Marcelo Magalhaes added 19 points for the Brazilians, who advanced to the gold-medal game against Olympic champion Argentina, which beat Venezuela 104-93. The U.S. team will face Venezuela in the bronze-medal game.

Brazil, which lost 71-70 to the Americans in its first tournament game, on Aug. 25, controlled the game from the outset and limited top U.S. scorers Charlie Bell and Alex Scales to nine and four points, respectively.

The U.S. team shot 13 percent from 3-point range and 43 percent overall.

"The first time we lost because of the shooting of Bell and Scales," Brazilian center Tiago Splitter said. "Today, they didn't shoot well and we were more aggressive from the beginning, opening a lead that they couldn't catch."

The Americans closed within three points, 59-56, in the third quarter, but failed to score for a 5-minute span and trailed 74-60 by the end of the quarter.

The U.S. team also lost strong forward Kristoffer Lang, who sprained his right ankle in the third quarter.

"Once we lost Kris Lang, our energy went down," U.S. coach Mo McHone said.

Argentina, Brazil, the United States, Venezuela and Panama all clinched berths in the 2006 FIBA World Championships in Japan on Thursday. Argentina was assured a berth as the reigning Olympic champion and the Americas region had four other spots available.

"The next time you see the USA, it will have better players, better coaches, better everything," McHone said.

McHone said the United States planned to put together one team that would stay together the next three years for the World Championships and 2008 Beijing Olympics.