Originally created 07/31/98

Overtime: Lithuania tops U.S. in WorldChampionships



The United States basketball team, perennially one of the most feared in the world, was shocked by Lithuania 84-82 Thursday in a first-round game of the world championships in Athens, Greece.

The last time the United States lost in a world championship or Olympics was -- pre-Dream Team -- in the 1990 world championships to Yugoslavia 99-91 in the semifinals. Since then, the U.S. had won 26 games.

Former Seton Hall player Arturas Karnisovas led Lithuania with 29 points.

The Americans had a chance to win, but Jimmy Oliver missed a 30-foot, 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

"They were a little better than we were," said coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who has assembled a hodgepodge of a team over the past month since the NBA lockout began.

-- Latrell Sprewell's $30 million lawsuit against the NBA was dismissed Thursday by a federal judge in San Francisco.

Sprewell, whose one-year suspension for choking his coach was reduced by an arbitrator, claimed the suspension was racially discriminatory and violated his right to make a living.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker left room for the suit to be revived, giving Sprewell's attorneys 30 days to tie their legal claims more closely to the facts of the case. But Walker said they should seriously consider dropping the matter.

-- The NBA went to court Thursday in New York but failed to get an order prohibiting arbitrator John Feerick from holding a hearing on whether players should be paid during a lockout.

Federal judge Barbara Jones rejected the league's motion in U.S. District Court, clearing the way for Feerick to hold a hearing Thursday evening on whether he has jurisdiction in the matter.

The players union filed a grievance with Feerick earlier this month arguing that some 200 players with guaranteed contracts should be paid during the lockout.

TOUR DE FRANCE: After one of the most turbulent days in its history, the Tour de France lost two more teams Thursday in its growing drug scandal.

Amid the bucolic surroundings of Neuchatel, Switzerland, the athletes couldn't escape the news that the teams withdrew to protest police behavior. Two Spanish teams, Kelme and Vitalcio, angrily quit the field, joining the other three Spanish teams, who quit Wednesday. A sixth team, Festina, was thrown out on July 17 after police found materials in a team masseur's car -- sparking the current scandal.

When the 18th stage was over, Tom Steels of Belgium had won, but the overall standings remained the same. Italy's Marco Pantani retained the yellow jersey, Bobby Julich of the United States was second, and last year's winner, Jan Ullrich of Germany, was third.

Before Thursday's start, there was uncertainty as to whether the race would go on. Many riders, angered at the growing investigation, had threatened to pull out entirely. But in the end, 103 of them left the French Alpine town of Aix-les-Bains for a 135 1/2 -mile ride through stunning countryside to Neuchatel.

BOOSTER CLUB: South Carolina has set a record where you might not expect -- in donations.

After a year in which its football team lost to Clemson and went 5-6, and its basketball team lost to Clemson and fell in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Gamecock Club raised a record $7.3 million.

HOCKEY: Kevin Lowe, the defenseman who was Edmonton's first draft pick, scored the Oilers' first NHL goal and stayed with them through five Stanley Cups and more than 1,000 games, retired Thursday.

"I just listened to myself and knew that although last year wasn't great, it wasn't bad, and perhaps that's a good way to call it quits," said Lowe, 39, who will remain with the Oilers as an assistant coach. "I played my whole Lowe played on five Stanley Cup championship teams in his first 13 seasons with Edmonton, then helped the New York Rangers to the 1994 title. He rejoined the Oilers two years ago, but was limited to only seven games last season because of an ear infection.

GYMNASTICS: Paralyzed gymnast Sang Lan was moved to a Manhattan rehabilitation clinic in New York Thursday, the first step in what her family hopes will be a return to athletic competition.

Doctors warn the 17-year-old from China may never even walk again.

Sang arrived in Manhattan by ambulance from Nassau County Medical Center. Immobilized on a stretcher, with her parents walking alongside, she was carried through a media horde into the Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Institute.

The teen-ager broke her neck a week ago during a warm-up vault at the Nassau Coliseum. She underwent surgery Saturday, but has little sensation from the chest down. Doctors have discounted some toe movement as an involuntary twitch.

SOCCER: Retired soccer star Eric Cantona will put on his famous No. 7 shirt for Manchester (England) United one more time in a special game next month to remember those who perished in the Munich air disaster of 1958.

The French forward was originally lined up to lead an all-star team against the current Manchester United team. But he has changed his mind and will captain the Reds team instead.