Germany win basketball World Cup by beating Serbia; USA settle for fourth
Germany have shown nerves of steel to win the men's basketball World Cup for the first time by beating twice champions Serbia 83-77 in the final.
Dennis Schroder scored 28 points and Franz Wagner added 19 in Sunday's showdown in Manila as Germany capped off their unbeaten run through the World Cup, winning their eighth consecutive game.
"It's an unbelievable group," Schroder, the tournament MVP, said. "It's unbelievable going 8-0."
The Germans had reached their first-ever final by shocking the United States on Friday in the Philippines but the talented Serbian team - even without NBA superstar Nikola Jokic - were tougher opponents.
Initially neck-and-neck, the Germans eventually pulled away in the third quarter and then held on to win the title for the first time, following their bronze-medal display in Indianapolis in 2002.
Toronto Raptors point guard Schroder ended up as Germany's top scorer, making up for his subdued showings in the quarter and semi-finals.
"In Germany, people are starting to recognise what we're doing for our country," Schroder said. "We want our respect as well."
That respect was earned. Germany came up with a plan to ask its best players for a three-year commitment to the national team, with eyes on this World Cup and the Paris Olympics.
This was the second year of that plan, and a team that didn't even get out of the opening round at any of the last three World Cups — finishing 17th in 2010, not qualifying in 2014 and finishing 18th in 2019 — now has the Naismith Trophy in its possession for the next four years.
"They deserved this win," Serbia coach Svetislav Petic said. "They played 40 minutes at a high level."
The key was a 22-10 run in the third quarter which gave Germany all the breathing room they needed.
Serbia couldn't reclaim the lead down the stretch although they got to within two points at 79-77 after Marko Guduric made a pair of free throws with 39.5 seconds left.
But Schroder then blew past two defenders for a lay-up on the ensuing German possession to restore a four-point edge.
Earlier, the United States' miserable finish to the tournament continued when they beaten 127-118 in overtime in the bronze medal match by Canada, who bagged their first-ever World Cup podium finish at the expense of the favourites.
NBA players Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks took control in overtime for the Canadians, scoring a combined 11 points.
Brooks, who will play for the Houston Rockets next season, powered the Canadians with his tournament-high 39 points, along with four rebounds and five assists to claim player of the match honours.
Down by 4 points with two seconds remaining, Mikal Bridges was fouled and sent to the free throw line for two shots. He made the first, deliberately missed the second to give USA a shot at the rebound, and he was able to rebound his own shot and hit a miracle triple to tie the game.
The Americans were elated, but were unable to contain Canada in overtime as their offence exploded and they powered home to victory.