SEATTLE, JULY 24 -- The Soviet Union, now a shell of its former basketball self without its Lithuanian superstars, nonetheless repeated tonight what it did to the United States 22 months ago at the Seoul Olympics.

It defeated the United States, and did so handily, winning, 92-85, in a round robin game at the Goodwill Games. The Americans still are eligible for medal play, pending Wednesday's game against Italy.

Earlier Italy defeated Puerto Rico, 117-97, and Spain topped Australia, 78-71.

In the main event, Valeri Tikhonenko, one of only three members of the 1988 Olympic gold medal-winning team playing for the Soviets here, made five of nine three-pointers (the team made eight of 15) and scored 30 points in all to frustrate a young, error-prone team of U.S. collegiate stars.

Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning, who was ejected from the United States' first game for fighting, was on his best behavior tonight and led the Americans with 20 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots. Syracuse's Billy Owens added 16 points and 5 rebounds. Georgia Tech point guard Kenny Anderson scored 14 points to go with 8 assists and 2 steals.

The young U.S. team's performance here eerily resembled that of the Americans in Seoul, who lost to the Soviets, 82-76, and had to settle for the bronze medal, the worst U.S. performance ever in an Olympics. In that game, the team's Lithuanian superstars, led by center Arvidas Sabonis, scored 62 points. Now without those players because of the political developments in the Soviet Union, the Soviets were believed to be inferior to the collection of young U.S. all-stars put together by Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

But his fate turned out to be the same as Georgetown Coach John Thompson's, who coached the losing U.S. team in 1988.

"It's not the same," Krzyzewski shot back angrily when asked about it. "I'm not playing in the Olympics. I don't like to lose, but I don't care if it's the Russians or Virginia. I can't tell you how John Thompson felt, but this is not the Olympics."

Still it was the third straight loss for a U.S. team in international competition. The Americans were upset by Brazil and Oscar Schmidt in the 1987 Pan American Games. Their only other loss to the Soviets was in highly controversial Olympics.

The United States, which fell behind by as many as nine points in the first half, scored the final eight points of that half to take a 45-42 lead at halftime. The half ended on a Mourning jam at the end of a three-on-one break. It appeared the Americans, playing in front of a capacity crowd of over 14,000 at Seattle Center, were on a roll.

But, once again, the Soviets showed the younger, more talented U.S. squad that teamwork, patience and experience can win games in international ball.

By scoring the first three baskets of the second half, the Soviets went back into the lead, 48-45, and never relinquished it. They stretched the lead to 79-69, with 6:15 to go on a Tikhonenko three-pointer. After an official timeout with 4:16 remaining, Krzyzewski put in his own playmaking guard at Duke, Bobby Hurley, to step up the pressure, full-court. Hurley, who had not played to that point, made little difference.

It made little difference as the Soviets were able to hold the 10-point margin until the final minute.

"Our kids didn't play that badly," Krzyzewski said. "We had a hard time scoring. Our jump shots were short and we looked a little bit anxious at times."

One of the Soviet tactics that drove the United States nuts was their penchant for penetrating, then pitching the ball back outside for the shot. The Americans appeared to be too slow moving back toward the ball and the Soviets ended up with a variety of open men -- and open shots.

"That's a little bit unusual for U.S. basketball," Krzyzewski said of the Soviet maneuver.

Another frustration for the United States was the fact that Tikhonenko and two teammates, Dmitri Sukharev and Oleg Meleshenko, all had four fouls the last eight minutes, and only Sukharev fouled out.

"The Soviets played an outstanding game," Krzyzewski said. "Tikhonenko was fantastic. We knew going into the game about his experience and three-point shooting. He's so big {6-foot-9}, he spreads us out and then he hits the shot. That's the strength of the Soviet Union."

The Americans ended up hitting only three of their 13 three-pointers and shot only 64 percent from the free throw line.

While all the Lithuanians were missing, the old Soviet coach was not. Alexander Gomelski, the longtime Soviet head coach, started the game at the end of the bench, observing. By the end, he was standing beside Vladas Garastas, his replacement, and appeared to have taken over the job of coaching the team.

Mourning was a perfect gentleman on the court today, twice apologizing for knocking players to the floor. He was ejected in the first half of Monday's game for fighting with 6-foot-10 Jose Ortiz of Puerto Rico. The first trip down the floor, Puerto Rico's Ramon Rivas gave Mourning a good shove. Twelve minutes later, Mourning intervened in a scuffle between a couple other players, yelling at Ortiz, who screamed back and slapped Mourning on the forehead. Rivas swung at Mourning's head and missed. Mourning missed with a right. Rivas missed again. Mourning and Ortiz were disqualified, while Rivas somehow stayed in the game.

Mourning left with three blocked shots, three rebounds and two points.

"He was stepping up for his teammates for something he thought was wrong," Krzyzewski said.

Without Mourning, the United States nearly lost, but Owens and Anderson picked up the slack and the Americans won, 100-94.

"It was apparent that we needed him," said Krzyzewski.