15 Sep 2014

US cruise to World Cup win

2:10 pm on 15 September 2014

The United States retained their basketball World Cup title after obliterating 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 after their captain James Harden inspired an effervescent performance in Madrid's City Arena.

Kenneth Faried celebrates after the United States' World Cup win.

Kenneth Faried celebrates after the United States' World Cup win. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With his team trailing 15-7 early on, Harden instigated a 15-0 run and the Americans never looked back as they romped to a 35-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Centre DeMarcus Cousins dominated the boards at both ends as the US nailed 11 of 16 three-pointers in the first half to take a 67-41 lead into the locker room on the back of 18 points from playmaker Kyrie Irving.

Serbia, 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.

Irving led the champions with a game-high 26 points, Harden added 23 while six of their team mates finished with double scoring digits. Forwards Nemanja Bjelica and Nikola Kalinic stood out for Serbia with 18 points each.