Argentina to play Spain in Basketball World Cup final

AFP

Argentina are one win away from their first Basketball World Cup title since 1950 after they brushed aside France 80-66 on Friday to set up a final with Spain.

Earlier, NBA champion Marc Gasol saved Spain as they battled back to see off Australia 95-88 after a second overtime period to reach the decider on Sunday in Beijing.

Cheered on by a group of fans decked out in their national colours, Argentina made a fast start in their semi-final against France, who had ousted the US in the previous round.

Argentina opened the game up with a 10-2 run that saw Luis Scola, the age-defying 39-year-old, dominate the court.

The South Americans led 39-32 at half-time and were never in serious danger of surrendering their advantage after that.

Scola, the grand old man of basketball, finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. He was given a huge ovation when he stepped off the court near the end.

With an average height of 6'8" (203 cm), France are one of the tallest teams at the World Cup.
Their height advantage was a weapon against the reigning two-time champions the United States in their thrilling quarter-final victory.

But it had little effect on Argentina, who were up 52-38 midway through the third quarter and on the way to a big win.

France will play Australia for bronze on Sunday.