BEIJING. — Spain whipped Argentina 95-75 to win the FIBA Basketball World Cup for the first time since 2006 on Sunday, completing a stunning campaign for a squad considered by many to be among the outsiders when the 32-team tournament began.
The Spaniards scored first and never relinquished the lead, relying on swarming interior defense and superior rebounding to snuff out the offensive threat of 2004 Olympic champion Argentina.
Point guard Ricky Rubio racked up 20 points and three assists and Marc Gasol and Willy Hernangomez swatted three shots each as Spain pulled down 47 rebounds, 20 more than Argentina, en route to a comprehensive victory.
For Gasol it was the crowning achievement of an incredible year that saw him win an NBA World Championship with the Toronto Raptors before leading his national team to glory.
His 33 points in the semifinals victory over Australia put them in a position to fight for the gold medal, but it was his defense that put them on the top step of the podium.
From the opening tip, the 34-year-old dominated the driving lanes to the basket that Argentina had used to such great effect against France, forcing the latter into outside shots that would not fall.