Beijing Olympics Basketball Men
Dusan Vranic  /  AP
USA guard Lebron James stretches to defend against Greece's Vasileios Spanoulis during the American's 92-69 win.
msnbc.com news services
updated 8/14/2008 1:00:38 AM ET 2008-08-14T05:00:38
DAY 6 HIGHLIGHTS

The U.S. men’s basketball team defeated Greece 92-69, remaining unbeaten in its quest for Olympic gold while Yao Ming led China to their first victory of the Olympic tournament.

Kobe Bryant and Chris Bosh each scored 18 points Thursday night for the United States, which improved to 3-0 following their 23 point win over Greece setting up matchup of Group B unbeatens against world champion Spain on Saturday night. Dwyane Wade added 17 points and LeBron James finished with 13.

Yao made 10 of 11 shots from the floor scoring 30 points in the host country's 85-68 win over Angola.  The victory upped China's record to 1-2 in the tournament while Angola remained winless in three games.

In tennis, Roger Federer’s bid for his first Olympic singles medal has ended with a loss to American James Blake. 

On the women's side, Serena Williams has lost her quarterfinal match to Elena Dementieva of Russia whjile her sister, Venus, fell in straight sets to Li Na of China.

Katie Hoff failed to advance out of the 800-meter freestyle preliminaries Thursday night, ending her second trip to the games without a gold.

Teammate and current world champion Kate Ziegler also missed out, a stunning result for the United States, which has won the event seven times since it was first contested at the 1968 games, including five straight from 1984-2000.

Michael Phelps has advanced out of the 100-meter butterfly preliminaries at the Beijing Olympics, keeping the American on track to win his sixth gold medal of the games.

Phelps qualified second overall Thursday night in 50.87 seconds. He trailed Milorad Cavic of Serbia, who won their heat in an Olympic record of 50.76.

World record holder Alain Bernard declared on Aug. 7 that he was the favorite for the 100-meter freestyle and that his French relay squad would "smash" the Americans. Well, he was partly right.

The U.S. relay team (comprised of Phelps, Jason Lezak, Cullen Jones and Garrett Weber-Gale) won the relay in a world-record setting 3:08.24. Lezak, who was the final swimmer for the Americans, barely edged out the smack-talking Bernard for the gold.

Thursday morning, Bernard redeemed himself by outswimming Lezak in the 100-meter freestyle — as he predicted — to take the gold. Lezak tied for the bronze with Cesar Cielo of Brazil, while world record-holder Eamon Sullivan of Australia took silver.

The United States baseball team bounced back from a disappointing loss to South Korea with a rain-shortened 7-0 win over the Netherlands.  Stephen Strasburg carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and struck out 11 for the Americans.

Yang Wei of China won the men's all-around gymnastics gold medal topping Japan's Kohei Uchimura and France's Benoit Caranobe.

Basketball
Theo Papaloukas scored 15 points for Greece, which upset the United States 101-95 two years ago in the world championship but found a much tougher defensive club this time.

Using an overwhelming height advantage, China dominated under basket and exploited frequently sloppy play by the African champions for easy baskets.

Yao drilled 10 of 11 field goals for 91 percent shooting, matched by 10 of 11 from the free throw line.

Sun Yue added 11 points for China, sinking all four of his field goals, including two three pointers. Joaquim Gomes had 17 points to lead Angola.

Yi Jianlian of the New Jersey Nets seemed to come alive for the first time in the tournament, stuffing several big jams and grabbing 10 defensive rebounds. That won him a rare note of approval from China coach Jonas Kazlauskas.

"I'm think he still hasn't found a good chemistry with Yao. This isn't easy. But today much better," Kazlauskas said.

The Lithuanian-born Kazlauskas said he'd been concerned before the game by China's earlier later-period collapses against the United States and Spain. After China appeared to wobble in the second quarter, he sat the team down for a firm locker room talk at halftime and "all better," he said.

China (1-2) plays Germany Thursday and Greece Saturday. Angola remain winless in the tournament.

In earlier games Thursday, Brad Newley scored 24 points to lead Australia to a 106-68 win against Iran.

Tennis
With the sort of lackluster performance that was once unthinkable for Federer, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.

The upset was a stunner in that Blake had won only a single set in their previous eight matches. But the top-seeded Federer is battling a yearlong slump that has left him stalled at 12 major titles, two shy of Pete Sampras’ record.

Federer’s latest defeat means no rematch in Sunday’s final against Nadal, who won in epic fashion when they met for the Wimbledon title.

Dementieva, who won a Silver in Sydney in 2000, beat Serena 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in their singles match Thursday night.

The fourth-seeded Serena tried to rally from a 5-0 deficit in the final set against the No. 5-seeded Dementieva.

Serena overcame two match points during an 18-point game to hold for 5-3. But Dementieva held at love in the next game, sealing the victory when Williams pushed a volley wide.

Later in the evening, Venus Williams lost to Li Na of China.

Venus, who won gold medals in singles and doubles at the 2000 Games, was beaten 7-5, 7-5.

A wayward forehand plagued Venus, and she sent one long to lose serve and fall behind 6-5 in the second set. The reigning Wimbledon champion had three more forehand errors in the final game, and when Li hit a service winner on match point, the crowd responded with the biggest roar of the tournament.

The Williams sisters remained in the doubles competition, scheduled to play the quarterfinals later Thursday.

Swimming
Kosuke Kitajima of Japan swept the breaststroke events in his second straight Olympics, winning the 200-meter. He became the first swimmer to claim both the 100 and 200 gold medals at consecutive games.

In the women's 800-meter freestyle relay, Stephanie Rice led Australia to a gold medal in the women's 4x200-meter freestyle relay, smashing the world record by nearly 6 seconds.

Rice, Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer and Linda Mackenzie touched in 7 minutes, 44.31 seconds Thursday, lowering the old mark of 7:50.09 set by the U.S. at last year's World Championships in Australia.

Rice earned her third gold medal of these Games, having swept both individual medleys with world-record times.

The Chinese team of Yang Yu, Zhu Qianwei, Tan Miao and Pang Jiaying took the silver in 7:45.93.

The U.S. team of Allison Schmitt, Natalie Coughlin, Caroline Burckle and Katie Hoff earned the bronze in 7:46.33, the first time the Americans have lost the event since it began in 1996.

Hoff, who had hoped for a breakout Olympics here, instead has been shut out of gold medals. She failed to win a medal in either of her individual events Wednesday and now has a silver and two bronze medals in five events.

Baseball
Not even a downpour or a protest could spoil the Olympic debut of the lone college kid on the U.S. baseball team — even if he had to wait 6½ hours to finally get the win.

Stephen Strasburg carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and struck out 11 Thursday, helping the Americans to a 7-0, rain-shortened victory over the Netherlands. This was a welcome result for a U.S. team coming off a tough opening loss.

Strasburg, who pitches for San Diego State, said this was the longest he's had to wait for a victory.

"I just tried to go out and make quality pitches, that's it," he said. "I didn't really think about, 'Oh, I have a no hitter.'"

The game was called after eight innings following a second rain delay, the warning tracks looking more like wading pools and the outfield too soggy to continue. The Dutch protested the decision because they had loaded the bases in the ninth inning with no outs. But the protest was denied by baseball's international federation.

The players waited in their dugouts and eventually shook hands afterward. The Dutch chose to not to appeal the ruling, but had three hours to change their mind.

In the other morning game, the China-South Korea matchup was suspended with no score in the bottom of the sixth and will resume Sunday.

Next up for the United States is defending Olympic champion Cuba on Friday in a matchup of medal contenders.

Gymnastics

Yang Wei clapped as he walked past the vault judges, pumped his fists at the crowd and flashed a thumbs-up for the cameras. He even exchanged high-fives with the competition.

Denied in Sydney and disappointed in Athens, he is finally an Olympic champion after winning the men’s all-around Thursday. It wasn’t close, either. Yang finished with 94.575 points, nearly three points ahead of Japan’s Kohei Uchimura. Benoit Caranobe of France won the bronze.

With every day bringing another gold medal, gymnastics is fast becoming China’s domain at the Beijing Olympics. And no one is a bigger star than Yang.

After eight years of waiting, he’s certainly earned it.

He didn’t even bother waiting for his marks on high bar, his final event, before taking a curtain call, leaping onto the podium and thrusting his fists in the air while the crowd went crazy. His coach gave him a Chinese flag, and he held it out with pride. Judges took what seemed like forever to post his marks, but that only gave Yang more time to soak it all in.

As the adoring crowd chanted “Yang Wei! Yang Wei” he pounded his chest with his fist. When his final mark finally did go up, the crowd went wild and Yang wanted more, cupping his hands to his ears and asking for them to pump up the volume. They did, of course, cheering lustily for the man who could rank right up there with Yao Ming and Liu Xiang in star power. The only difference right now is that Yang’s got two gold medals and the other two are still waiting.

Yang was dismissively referred to as “the silver collector” after he finished second to Alexei Nemov at the Sydney Olympics and second to American Paul Hamm at the 2003 world championships. The gold was his for the taking in Athens when Hamm fell midway through the meet, but Yang couldn’t close the deal. He fell on high bar, and dropped all the way to seventh.

No one has been better the last two years. Not even close.

The Associated Press, Reuters and NBCOlympics.com contributed to this report.

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