BARCELONA, OCT. 13 -- The New York Knicks reasserted the NBA's dominance of basketball today as Patrick Ewing totaled 23 points and 13 rebounds in a 117-101 victory over POP 84 Split of Yugoslavia in the title game of the McDonald's Open.
The Knicks had to go into overtime in their semifinal game to defeat an Scavolini Pesaro of Italy and avoid becoming the first NBA club to lose in international play.
But in what may have been a preview of the 1992 Olympics, to be held at the Palau Sant Jordi that hosted this four-nation event, the Knicks overcame a slow start and won comfortably as Ewing outdueled Toni Kukoc.
"Mentally, tonight our team knew a little better what to expect from the European game," Knicks Coach Stu Jackson said. "Also, tonight we were a lot more physical basketball team."
Kukoc, 6 feet 10 and a second-round draft choice of the Chicago Bulls this summer, showed his all-around talent (18 points, eight rebounds) but got little support.
Ewing blocked two of Kukoc's shots; the Yugoslav rejected one by Ewing.
Kukoc, who led Yugoslavia to gold medals at the Goodwill Games and World Championships this summer, is expected to play for Yugoslavia at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Ewing, who played for the U.S. team that won the gold at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, has said he would like to play in the Barcelona Games in 1992 -- the first time NBA players will be allowed in the Olympics.
"Right now I'd say I'll be back, but 1992 is still a long way away," Ewing said. "We'll see what happens when '92 comes."
Kukoc dominated the first quarter. The forward hit a three-pointer, handed out several assists and slammed in a two-handed dunk as POP 84 took a 24-20 lead.
But the Knicks turned it around in the second quarter, going on a 12-0 run for a 39-33 lead. Ewing then took over, leading an 11-0 surge with a dunk, a free throw, two layups and a pass to Maurice Cheeks for another layup.
The Knicks outscored POP 84, the European champion, by 32-16 in the period for a 52-40 halftime lead. Ewing had 12 points and eight rebounds in the half.