The United States has won the men’s basketball World Cup and the automatic Olympic berth that goes with the title.
Fielding the youngest U.S. team since NBA professionals debuted at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the Americans routed Serbia in Madrid Sunday, 129-92. This is the first time the U.S. men have won back-to-back world championships.
Twenty-two-year-old point guard Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers led the U.S. scoring with 26 points, hitting all six of his three-point field goal attempts. He was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
The victory gives the U.S. men a berth in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The American men now have won 63 straight games in international play, 45 in official International Basketball Federation (FIBA) games and 18 in exhibition play.
Finishing third behind the U.S. and Serbia was France, which defeated Lithuania by two points for the bronze medal Saturday (95-93).
It was the first men’s world basketball medal for Serbia, which was part of Yugoslavia when it won five gold medals. The U.S. tied that mark of five golds with Sunday’s title. The tournament has been held 17 times. It was formerly known as the FIBA World Championship, but basketball’s world governing body changed the name for this year to the FIBA World Cup.
The next edition of the tournament will be held in five years, instead of four, so it won’t be held the same year as football’s World Cup.