Spain is the first team through to the 2019 FIBA World Cup final after beating Australia 95-88 in double overtime in a dramatic semifinal at the Beijing Wukesong Sport Center, China, Friday.
The world No. 2 side trailed for much of regulation time, despite only being outscored in the second quarter, but a late comeback sent the game to overtime, where it managed to pulled away from the Boomers in the second period.
Marc Gasol scored 33 points for Spain, while Australia's Patty Mills contributed 32.
Phoenix Suns point guard Ricky Rubio showed his class from the outset with a three-pointer before stealing from Mills.
NBA Writer Tim Reynolds is a fan of Rubio's:
Chris Goulding, Matthew Dellavedova and Andrew Bogut helped the Boomers hold a narrow lead as the end of the first quarter approached.
However, a turnover from Dellavedova with five seconds left on the clock let Spain back in. Sergio Llull beat the buzzer with a three-pointer to ensure his side edged 22-21 ahead:
A layup from Nick Kay put Australia back in front early in the second. The Boomers capitalized on a fallow period for Spain—who did not score in the first four minutes of the second quarter—to open up a five-point gap.
After Rubio finally got Spain back on the board, Australia responded with a three from Jock Landale and an offensive rebound from Mitch Creek.
Free throws from Victor Claver and Gasol, and a two from Rudy Fernandez helped Spain reduce the deficit back to five points at halftime.
Spain came out on top by one point in the third quarter, reducing the gap to four. Australia had been eight ahead midway through, but Llull, Pau Ribas and Rubio finished it strongly.
The Boomers opened up an eight-point gap again in the fourth but found themselves one behind with eight seconds on the clock after a pair of free throws from Gasol, who had already spearheaded Spain's comeback efforts with a three-pointer, hook shot and two layups in quick succession.
In a dramatic finish, Mills earned two free throws with four seconds left but only converted one, taking the game to overtime with the scores tied at 71 apiece:
Mills converted a pair of free throws with 14 seconds on the clock in overtime to hand the Boomers an 80-78 lead, but Gasol held his nerve to do the same at the other end with four seconds remaining.
While they could not be separated in the first overtime period, the second overtime was a one-sided affair with Spain quickly taking control, with a pair of three-pointers from Llull helping them secure victory.