USA thrash Serbia to retain World Cup

Holders win their fifth basketball World Cup title with a convincing thrashing of Serbia and secure Rio 2016 spot.

    The US team was missing the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant [REUTERS]
    The US team was missing the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant [REUTERS]

    The United States romped to their fifth basketball World Cup title after overcoming an early deficit to overwhelm the tournament's surprise package Serbia 129-92 in a one-sided final.

    An athletic US team, missing top NBA players such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant, finished the tournament in grand style with a 9-0 record to retain the title they won in Istanbul in 2010.

    Serbia made a bright start and took a 15-7 lead in the opening few minutes but that was as good as it got for them after US captain James Harden instigated a 15-0 run which put the champions in the driving seat.

    The Americans nailed 11 of 16 three-pointers in the first half and took a 67-41 lead into the locker room as playmaker Kyrie Irving also found his range, while centres DeMarcus Cousins and Kenneth Faried dominated the boards.

    Irving scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the opening two quarters, when his team mates stifled out Serbia playmaker Milos Teodosic at the other end of the court.

    The Serbs, who reached the final with three upset wins in the knockout stages, fought hard to keep the score respectable in the second half but had no reply for either lethal long-range shooting or superior rebounding by the United States.

    The Balkan nation will have had no regrets though after securing their first World Cup podium finish as an independent nation, having also won the 2009 European championship silver medal.

    European champions France won the bronze medal with a dramatic 95-93 win over Lithuania on Saturday.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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