MANNHEIM, Germany — When the U.S. Albert Schweitzer Tournament basketball team plays in Saturday’s third-place game, spectators are guaranteed to get their money’s worth.

Irving Walker’s jumper in traffic in the lane with 35 seconds to play Thursday night lifted the U.S. to a 102-101 victory over Spain and into a Friday evening semifinal against Turkey, the 2004 champions of this biennial event. The U.S. lost that game 83-79, and will play in Saturday’s 2 p.m. third-place tilt.

“All game-winning shots feel the same,” Walker said when asked whether making one wearing a jersey with “United States” on it made it special. “I just want to help my team win.”

The game-winner, which lifted Walker to a game-high 32 points, wasn’t the only clutch shot the future Florida Gator made Thursday. With the U.S. trailing 56-48 and two seconds to play in the first half, Walker took an inbounds pass on the right sideline on the run, dribbled once and pulled up to drain a 30-footer. The resulting five-point difference was the closest the U.S. had been since trailing 28-23 with 1:40 left in the first quarter.

“It almost cut their lead in half,” said Walker, who also led the U.S. with eight rebounds and nine assists. “It gave us a chance to win.”

The U.S. took advantage of that chance after halftime, but not without playing clutch basketball. Spain, which sank 15 of 36 three-pointers, went up 64-51 with a pair of threes after intermission, only to see the U.S. tie the game 66-66 on 10 points by Walker and five by Travis Releford of Kansas City over the next 2:35. Releford finished with 30 points.

Spain again forged ahead to lead 79-73 at the end of three quarters. Then a three-ball from Cashmere Wright of Savannah, Ga. (19 points), and six more points from Releford, capped by a resounding dunk, put the U.S. ahead 84-83 with 6:41 to go.

Once again, Spain rode three-pointers to a 97-91 lead with 4:00 left. But they were the last threes of the night for Spain.

“We went to a zone,” U.S. coach Lionel Hollins said. “That did two things. It slowed them down — we didn’t have to chase them so much — and they started making turnovers, and we were able to get rebounds and run.”

Anthony Stover, a 6-10 junior from La Canada, Calif., and Brendan Lane, a 6-9 junior from Rocklin, Calif., each of whom claimed seven rebounds, ignited the U.S. break, battling the burly Spaniards in the no-holds-barred action under the boards the international game allows.

“They push hard,” Stover said of the game underneath the hoop.

With Stover and Co. pushing back, the U.S. launched a game-ending 11-4 run behind seven points from Walker and two from Releford.

“It was the greatest high school game I’ve ever seen,” Hollins said.

Albert Schweitzer basketball

U.S.A. 102, Spain 101

(Thursday at Mannheim)

Spain 34 22 23 22—101

U.S.A. 24 27 22 29—102

Scoring—Spain: Alberto Jodar 19, Toni Vicente 18, Leon Marco 15, Jorge Santana 15, Daniel Perez 9, David Pacha 9, Alejandro Hernandez 8, Eduardo Martinez 6, Nacho Llovet 2; U.S.A.: Irving Walker 32, Travis Releford 30, Cashmere Wright 19, Oscar Bellfield 9, Wally Judge 4, Jeffree Withey 4, Brenda Lane 2, Anthony Stover 2.

Rebounds—Spain 40 (Vicente 10); U.S.A. 46 (Walker 8, Lane 7, Stover 7, Releford 6). Assists-Spain 24 (Perez 11); U.S.A. 12 (Walker 9).

Late game:U.S. beaten by Turkey in semifinals

MANNHEIM, Germany — Turkey converted six of eight free-throw attempts over the final 1:41 Friday night to hold off the U.S.A. 83-79 in a semifinal game in the Albert Schweitzer international youth basketball tournament as this edition of Stars and Stripes was going to press. The loss consigned the U.S. to Saturday’s 2 p.m. third-place game against the loser of Friday’s late semifinal between Greece and Australia.

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