Spain crush Serbia to take European gold

KATOWICE, Poland Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:40pm EDT

1 of 5. Spain's players celebrate after defeating Serbia to win the gold medal in the FIBA EuroBasket 2009 basketball final game in Katowice September 20, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Ivan Milutinovic

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KATOWICE, Poland (Reuters) - Spain overwhelmed Serbia 85-63 to win gold at the European basketball championship for the first time on Sunday.

The world champions and Olympic silver medalists, who were competing in their seventh final, were led to victory by Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol who top-scored with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Rudy Fernandez weighed in with 13 points and five rebounds while Uros Tripkovic and Novica Velickovic both racked up 15 points each for the Serbs.

Serbia, who had stunned Spain 66-57 in their opening group match of the tournament, were trailing by 10 points at the end of the first quarter.

Spain continued to pile on the pressure and streaked away to establish what turned out to be an unassailable 52-29 lead at the midway point.

Earlier, Greece won the bronze medal game with a nail-biting 57-56 success over Slovenia. Sofoklis Schortsanitis notched a game high 23 points for the Greeks.

(Writing by Mark Elkington in Madrid, editing by Dave Thompson)

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