posted on Aug, 8 2004 @ 04:04 PM
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - One week before its opener at the Athens Games, the U.S. men's Olympic team took a step backward. The American team blew most
of a 14-point fourth-quarter lead against a Turkish team missing Hedo Turkoglu, one of its two NBA players, before coming away with a 79-67 victory
This was not an encouraging win for the Americans, who again struggled against a team that didn't even qualify for the Olympics just as happened
earlier on their European trip against Germany.
A 19-8 run that included several 3-pointers narrowed Turkey's deficit to 68-65 with 3½ minutes left before the U.S. team turned up its defensive
pressure to close out the game.
Tim Duncan led the United States with 16 points and Allen Iverson scored 13, with no one else reaching double figures.
What was most alarming was the way the team's core of youngsters, including LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade couldn't stop the home team
from making a game of it down the stretch. Turkey's rally ended only after Duncan and Iverson, the U.S. team's elder statesmen, returned.
With Turkoglu out because of a broken nose, Ibrahim Kutluay led Turkey with 19 points and Serkan Erdogan added 17. Both players combined for a flurry
of 3s that thrilled the a crowd of about 10,000 at the hot, cramped Abdi Ipekci Arena.