World Cup recap: Spain is the champion!

Sep 15, 2019 by Print
World Cup recap: Spain is the champion!

Spain is the world champion of basketball for the second time after routing Argentina 75-95 on Sunday in the gold-medal game at the 2019 Basketball World Cup in Beijing, China. Former EuroLeague champion Ricky Rubio and the Real Madrid duo of Sergio Llull and Rudy Fernandez stood out for the winners; Rubio compiled 20 points and 7 rebounds, Llull scored 15 points and Fernandez posted 11 points and 10 rebounds. Marc Gasol posted 14 points and brothers Juancho and Willy Hernangomez added 11 points apiece. Another three Real Madrid players stood out for Argentina; Gabriel Deck scored 24 points, Nicolas Laprovittola had 17 and Facu Campazzo amassed 11 points and 8 assists. For Spain, this is the second world championship after winning the title in 2006. Fernandez and Gasol are the only players to have a part of both gold-medal-winning sides. In addition to Llull and Fernandez, there were four other Turkish Airlines EuroLeague players on the winning side: Pau Ribas, Pierre Oriola and Victor Claver of FC Barcelona and Quino Colom of Valencia Basket. Campazzo, Laprovittola and Deck were joined by KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz’s Luca Vildoza and Patricio Garino as the EuroLeague players on the Argentina squad.

Rubio and Oriola each scored twice as Spain opened the game on a tear to surge ahead 2-14. Nicolas Brussino came alive for Argentina with a pair of three-pointers and an assist as Argentina roared back with 10 unanswered points. Ribas revived Spain with 5 straight points and Llull's layup put the Spanish side up 14-23 after 10 minutes. Fernandez hit a pair of threes as Spain surged to 14-31 early in the second quarter. Campazzo and Deck helped cut the Argentina deficit to 8 before Oriola and Rubio set the halftime score at 31-43. Rubio took charge early in the second half with 5 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in a 0-12 run as Spain soared to 33-55 and then settled for a 47-66 lead through three quarters. Deck and Campazzon gave Argentina hope as the trimmed the gap to 58-70, but Spain never let the South Americans get any closer and wrapped up the win with time to spare.

France captures bronze

France erased a 15-point second-half deficit to come back and defeat Australia 67-59 to capture the bronze medal. Nando De Colo of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul shined with 19 points to lead the winners, Evan Fournier scored 16 and Zenit St. Petersburg’s Andrew Albicy, who hit a pair of big three-pointers down the stretch, added 9. Former EuroLeague champion Joe Ingles paced Australia with 17 points and Patty Mills netted 15. It the second straight third-place finish at the World Cup for France, which features four EuroLeague players (De Colo, Albicy, Louis Labeyrie of Valencia Basket and Mathias Lessort of FC Bayern Munich) and one 7DAYS EuroCup player (Axel Toupane of Unicaja Malaga).

Nando De Colo - France (Photo FIBA)Australia took charge early by scoring the first 5 points of the game and led by as many as 8 before De Colo knocked down a triple to end the first quarter at 11-16. France fought to keep it close, but a jumper by Ingles sent the Boomers into halftime with a 21-30 advantage. Nic Kay gave Australia its first double-digit lead with a layup to start the second half and a basket-plus-foul by Ingles gave his team its biggest lead, 23-38. France stormed back as De Colo scored twice and dished a pair of assists and Nicolas Batum added 3 points and 3 assists in a 14-2 run to get within 2. Mathew Dellavedova boosted Australia to 42-46 through three quarters. De Colo gave France its first lead of the game with a pair of free throws a minute into the fourth quarter. There would be six more lead changes in the fourth quarter, the last of which saw Albicy put France ahead 58-56 with 3 and a half minutes to go. Albicy set up Rudy Gobert for the next basket and his three-pointer with just over 1 minute remaining gave France an 8-point lead and all but settled the outcome.