Follow the World Cup on Facebook
Gasol shines for Spain in historic double OT win over Australia
BEIJING (China) - Spain prevailed in a game for the ages to reach the Final of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, as the 2006 champions knocked off Australia in historic fashion in the Semi-Finals, winning 95-88 in the first-ever double overtime for a World Cup elimination game.
Marc Gasol claimed TCL Player of the Game honors as he totalled 33 points while Ricky Rubio collected his first World Cup double-double with 19 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.
Sergio Lllull added 17 points and 6 assists in helping Spain secure their second World Cup medal following the title 13 years ago. The Spanish will face the winner of the second Semi-Final between Argentina and France in the Final on Sunday, September 15.
Australia suffered their first loss of the tournament despite Patty Mills pouring in 32 points and Nic Kay coming off the bench for 16 points and 11 rebounds, 7 of them on the offensive glass.Joe Ingles chipped in 4 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
Australia led by 8 points with seven minutes left in regulation when Gasol brought Spain back into the game and the big man made two free throws for a 71-70 lead with 8.7 seconds left. Mills then split two free throws with 4.7 seconds to play to force overtime. In overtime it was Gasol who calmly sank two free throws with with just seconds to play to send it to double overtime. And Australia just failed to execute down the stretch.
Turning Point: After loads of back and forth in the final minutes of both regulation and the first overtime, Lllull drained two three-pointers in a 10-0 run to make it 90-82. Australia could not get closer than five points the rest of the way and it was done and dusted when Gasol hit his layup with 23 seconds left.
TCL Player of the Game: Gasol had just 4 points in the first half, but he took over the game for the Spanish, finishing with a World Cup personal best 33 points - on 11-of-19 shooting and 8-of-8 free throws - 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. The big man came up with big play after big play, including 7 straight points in the fourth quarter after Spain had fallen behind by 8 points.
Stats Don't Lie: Spain forced Australia into 22 turnovers and held the Boomers to just 38 percent from the field, including 25 percent from long range. And that was a big reason Spain were able to overcome Australia's 57-43 rebounding advantage.
Bottom Line: Spain now have a chance to join United States, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union and Brazil as only the fifth country to win multiple World Cup trophies. But they must get past either Argentina or France first. The Boomers, meanwhile, have already secured their best-ever World Cup finish, besting their fifth places in 1982 and 1994. But Australia will be ultra-hungry to finally secure the country's first-ever global medal after four times just missing out in the Olympics.
They Said: "It's a great feeling to be in the Final. I want to congratulate all my players. I want to congratulate Australia. They had an awesome game. They fought until the very end. We know that they are a competitive, strong, talented and well-coached team. And it's a nice rivalry which is going on between these two teams. Fortunately two times we ended up winning. But both times the game was so close that you have to give them credit for this. And in my opinion this makes it an even bigger compliment for what our players did. In a very critical moment in the fourth quarter, they managed to take good decisions. Their heart and competitiveness was there throughout the 50 minutes. But we improved a lot in our decision making in the final 6-7 minutes of the fourth quarter and the overtimes. So I want to congratulate them not only for their effort and character but also for their capacity of remaining calm and making good decisions down the stretch." - Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo
"Obviously happy with how the team battled, the way the team came back, the way we stuck together through the tough times. Obviously happy with the result that that gave us. But the character of the team - how we stuck together - for me means a lot and the shot went down and we won the game. I think Australia played an awesome game. Very tough opponent, very smart, with a lot of options and a physical team but I am very happy for my teammates." - Spain center Marc Gasol
"That was a hell of a game of basketball. It was fun to be involved with and I'm really proud of our team and the way that we got after it. And you certainly can't question the effort and the intensity with which we played. The manner with which we played was good. Fun basketball, it was tough to lose. There's no doubt it's tough to lose but Spain's also a great basketball team and played well. It comes down to a couple of plays here and there and that's the way it goes. Now we need to be sure to find a way to let this one go in the next 24 hours and come out and be ready to play the next game with the same intensity on Sunday." - Australia head coach Andrej Lemanis
"Obviously a tough one. A lot of guys in the locker room who gave their heart and souls tonight. We definitely left it all out on the court. Sometimes it doesn't always go your way. But the way the boys fought tonight was a credit to the mateship and brotherhood that this group has got. The way that we developed as a group throughout this thing is great to see and hopefully we can keep this going now for the next game. " - Australia forward Nic Kay