Minutes later, with Miller exhorting the crowd to cheer, the U.S. used a 13-3 run to open a lead of 67-55 with 9:46 to play. Only then, was a favorable outcome virtually assured for the sellout crowd.
Divac fouled out with 15:26 to play and Barkley fouled out on a technical with 11:34 to play.
The U.S. rode David Robinson’s 28 points to the medal stand, Miller coming up big with 20, Penny Hardaway 17.
If the tournament was not popular with NBC, which showed very little of it, the fans apparently could not get enough.
In the tightly officiated game, Scottie Pippen was called for three personals and lost for the remainder of the first half after 1:58. Malone sat with two after 13:51. Barkley came in, was called for two fouls and waived to Wilkens to indicate that he should not be concerned.
Still, Yugoslavia led 21-14 and for the second straight game a U.S. team trailed by its greatest margin since the start of the pro era in 1992.
When former San Antonio player Zarco Paspalj scored his 16th point, it was 34-29 Yugoslavia, and the U.S. had been out-shot from the foul line 14-3. The U.S. then shot nine straight from the line, but made only five, tying the game.
The U.S. got its first lead when Shaquille O’Neal scored inside, playing in tandem with Robinson for the first time in the tournament.
Day 15: No quit in Jackie Joyner-Kersee