ZAGREB, YUGOSLAVIA, JULY 15 -- Michael Franks of the United States came from far back to win the 400 meters today at the World University Games, finishing in 45.33 seconds.

Franks' victory continued the Americans' sweep of the sprint golds. Denean Howard won the women's 400 meters a few minutes earlier; Lee McRae and Gwen Torrence won the 100-meter titles Tuesday.

Franks, who attends the University of Southern Illinois and was a silver medalist in the 1983 world championships, trailed badly early in the race, but caught Nigerian Moses Ugibise at the line. Ugibise took the silver medal in 45.37 and American Raymond Pierre was third in 45.67.

"I just came here to win," Franks said. "I didn't get out too well and then I just relaxed. When I came off the curve, I thought I might have blown the race. I'm relying too much on my final 100 meters now."

Howard, running in the inside lane, paced herself much better than Franks. The Soviet Union's Lyudmila Dzhigalova led for the first three-quarters of the race, but tied up and Howard passed her in the stretch to take the gold in 51.07. Dzhigalova won the silver in 51.32 and Sandie Richards of Jamaica took the bronze medal in 51.42.

Britain's Jonathan Ridgeon, the silver medalist in the world junior championships last year, took the 110-meter hurdles in the national-record time of 13.29, ahead of Americans Arthur Blake and Keith Talley.

Matching Blake stride for stride until the final hurdle, Ridgeon took the lead over the last barrier. Blake won the silver in 13.38 and Talley was bronze medalist in 13.40.

Axel Krippschock played a waiting game to win East Germany's first track and field gold, taking the men's 10,000 meters in 29:07.02. Greece's Spiridon Andriopoulos led throughout the later stages of the race, but Krippschock's sprint over the last 200 meters won it.

Andriopoulos took the silver in 29:08.65 and American Pat Porter won the bronze in 29:20.95.

As the two leaders battled for the gold in the stretch, they passed the prostrate and motionless figure of Britain's Andy Bristow, who collapsed from exhaustion in the straight on the previous lap. The Briton was carried off on a stretcher and taken to a hospital, where his condition was later said to be satisfactory.

In basketball, Mitch Richmond of Kansas State scored 13 points to help the U.S. men's team to a 69-57 victory over Czechoslovakia and a semifinal berth.