MADRID (AFP) – The United States completed a clean sweep of the world’s best in racing past Serbia 129-92 on Sunday to win the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and become the first country to defend their crown since 2002.
The Americans made 15 of 30 three-pointers in the game with Kyrie Irving and James Harden combining for nine three-pointers and 49 points.
Six other players scored in double figures for the Americans, who went undefeated in the tournament with an average winning margin of 33 points.
The US victory was close to the all-time record for the biggest winning margin in a final, the record being 46 points in a 137-91 US win over Russia in 1994.
The 129 points by the Americans were second to their showing in 1994.
The Americans also secured their fifth world title, pulling them even with Yugoslavia, who repeated their title in 2002. Brazil also won back-to-back crowns in 1959 and 1963.
Nikola Kalinic and Nemanja Bjelica paced Serbia with 18 points each as they secured their best showing at the worlds under the Serbian flag.
Serbia started strong, leading 12-5 in the early going, but the Americans responded with a 17-3 run for a 22-15 lead.
The US extended the lead to 35-19 as Irving nailed three three-pointers in scoring 15 points in the period.
The American shooters remained hot in knocking down six more three-pointers in pushing the lead to 31 points. The margin was 67-41 at the break.
Serbia were never able to get the game closer than 24 points and the US remained on target from long range as the lead bulged to 39 points. It was 105-67 after three quarters.
The game was long decided and the only question unanswered is it would be a record-breaking victory as well. But the lead only swelled to 40 points.
“Kyrie and James were amazing. But everybody wanted to work. They were always prepared. I’m proud of them. We feel very privileged to be called world champions,” said US coach Mike rzyzewski
“Each one is special. The main difference is the players change. But the culture has stayed the same. The players have loved it. They didn’t have to be sold. They wanted to be part of it.”
Irving was named MVP for the tournament.
“This is by far the biggest accomplishment in my life so far. This is one of the greatest moments in my life. I did this with guys I can call my brothers for the rest of my life,” he said.
“You’re part of something bigger than yourself. I was willing to do anything that ‘Coach K’ wanted. I just wanted to take every advantage I could playing with these guys and learning from these guys.”
The All-Tournament Team was MVP Irving, Spain’s Pau Gasol, Nicolas Batum of France, Serbia’s Milos Teodosic and American Kenneth Faried.