Italy stuns United States in Olympic exhibition

Cologne, Germany (Sports Network) - The Italian national team pulled off a shocking upset Tuesday as it crushed the United States by a 95-78 score in an Olympic exhibition game in Germany.

The Americans trailed by six at halftime and eight after three quarters, before being blown out in the fourth.

The margin of defeat was the largest suffered by the United States since the senior national Olympic team was comprised of NBA players. The previous worst loss by an NBA-led American team occurred on September 4, 2002 when Argentina defeated the U.S. 87-80.

"I think tonight we can learn from that team (Italy) as far as how they play with each other, communicating on both ends of the court and doing everything extra to make their teammates better," USA guard Allen Iverson said. "It's back to the drawing board for us, but I honestly think we needed something like this for us to understand it's not going to be easy in this (Olympic) tournament. I think this will only help us down the road."

Italy, whose roster is filled entirely by players from that country's league, was paced by Giacomo Galanda's 28 points and Gianluca Basile's 25. Basile knocked in seven three-pointers and the Italians as a team made 15 shots from behind the arc.

Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony led the Americans with 17 points, and two-time NBA MVP Tim Duncan added 15 in the loss.

"I think tonight was a wake-up call for us as a unit," said Iverson. "To be a good team you have to play good team defense. You have to help each other and talk and I think we had problems tonight communicating with each other on the defensive end."

By The Source
Aug 3, 2004
© Copyright 2004-2005

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