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Dream Team II romp to glory at '94 World Cup in Toronto

MIES (Switzerland) - The novelty of having NBA players in the USA national team did not wear off two years after the Barcelona Olympics. When the FIBA Basketball World Cup 1994 tipped off in Canada, the excitement was at a fever pitch.

The tournament, which represents one of FIBA's iconic moments, was held in Toronto's SkyDome and at Maple Leaf Gardens, as well as at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. The USA rolled to their third World Cup title.

The Skydome, home of Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, registered a World Cup crowd of 32,616 spectators on the last night when the Americans beat Russia in the Final.

Croatia, who had suffered a narrow Semi-Final loss to Russia, bounced back with a victory over Greece in the Third-Place Game.

The USA team at the '94 World Cup was spectacular, with NBA superstars Alonzo Mourning, Dominique Wilkins, Dan Majerle, Reggie Miller, Shawn Kemp and Shaquille O'Neal leading players. It was dubbed "Dream Team II", with the original USA Dream Team having marched to the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics.

"Something catastrophic would have had to happen for us not to win," Mourning said in the documentary The History of the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The USSR, which had been dismantled, made way for Russia while Yugoslavia, due to a UN embargo, were not admitted to Toronto.

Russia's leading players were Sergei Bazarevich and Sergei Babkov, while Croatia still had the outstanding trio of Dino Radja, Toni Kukoc and Stojan Vrankovic. Drazen Petrovic had suffered a tragic death in a car crash the year before.

Among the other leading international stars taking part was Andrew Gaze of Australia, who averaged a tournament-best 23.9 points per game ahead of Radja's 22.4 per contest. 

Rick Fox, who would become a three-time NBA champion with the Lakers, played for Canada

The Americans scored 100 or more points in seven of their eight contests and averaged 120.1 points a game.

O'Neal, who averaged 18.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots in just over 17 minutes per game, was named MVP of the World Cup. Other All-Star Five members were Kemp, Miller, Bazarevich and Rađja.

After a 115-100 win over Spain, Mourning said coach Don Nelson was not happy.

"He came down hard on us," Mourning said. "I wasn't expecting that. He coached us like, 'Don't take these international games for granted.'

O'Neal was named MVP of the 1994 FIBA Basketball World Cup

The USA responded with rampant performances the rest of the way.

"We came out and we just blew everybody out by 30," Mourning said.

That included a 111-94 victory over Russia at the end of the Quarter-Finals Round, and then a 97-58 win over Greece in their Semi-Final.

Russia had had to pull out all stops in their Semi-Final to edge Croatia, 66-64, leaving the team from the Balkins in a Third-Place Game showdown with Greece.

Croatia cruised, 78–60.

Russia were again no match for the USA in their second meeting.

The USA lowered the boom, making 16 of their first 17 shots. They led 25-10 after less than five minutes and won, 137-91.

Wilkins led the offensive attack with 20 points and O'Neal had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Mourning and Kemp accounted for 15 and 14 points, respectively.