Spain, France set up date in Final, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia relegated to Division B
UDINE (Italy) - France and Spain have claimed seven FIBA U16 European Championship crowns and reached a combined 11 Finals in the last 15 years, but they have never squared off in the title bout. That will change in Udine as the two European powerhouses won their Semi-Finals and will battle for the top spot on the podium.
France will be shooting for their fourth U16 crown as they knocked off hosts Italy in the Semi-Finals 73-56 thanks to Ousmane Dieng scoring 17 points and Victor Wembanyama collecting 12 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks.
After coming back from a 21-point first quarter deficit to beat Greece in the Quarter-Finals, Italy found themselves down 21 points again 31-10 in the second quarter. Italy cut into the deficit but the gap was up to 26 points late in the third quarter. Spurred on by the home fans, Italy went on a 21-2 run to pull within 62-55. But they would not get closer the rest of the way.
Matteo Spagnolo scored 16 points, Davide Casarin had 12 points and Francesco Gravaghi added 10 points in the loss.
Four-time winners Spain booked their spot in the Final earlier with an 81-56 victory over Russia. Spain started blowing the game open in the second quarter and it was over after three quarters. Russia committed 30 turnovers and Spain turned them into 40 points as they were able to run at will.
Ruben Dominguez collected 19 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals while Michael Caicedo had 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks and Toni Naspler chipped in 13 points. Russia's only player in double figures was Aleksandr Kolosov with 16 points.
Ruben Dominguez was Spain's Mr. Do-it-all
Russia came to Udine hoping first and foremost to avoid being relegated back to Division B as was the case in 2017. While they accomplished that and qualified for their first FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup in history, Roman Semerninov's team could not overcome Spain and reach their first Final since 2006. Russia will now try to capture their first medal since that second place 13 years ago in the Third Place Game against Italy.
Turkey and Greece bounced back from their Quarter-Finals losses to grab victories in the Classification 5-8 to set up a showdown for fifth place in the competition, which guarantees Europe's final spot in the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2020 along with the four Semi-Finalists.
Turkey, who have played in the last two U17 World Cups, came back from 13 points down to beat Serbia 74-65 as they held Serbia to just 33 percent shooting. Adem Bona collected 19 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks and 3 steals while Batin Tuna picked up 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists. Matija Belic did tally 18 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in the loss.
Greece, who have missed the last two U17 World Cups, downed the reigning U16 champions Croatia 92-84 thanks to Sotirios Oikonomopoulos scoring 22 points, Lefteris Manzoukas chipping in 20 points and 11 rebounds and Athanasios Bazinas picking up 12 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Juraj Pleadin scored 24 points and Duje Brala had 20 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists but they were not enough.
Greece have one more win to reach the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2020
The penultimate day of action also saw Bosnia and Herzegovina Germany and Latvia Estonia be relegated to Division B by losing in the Classification 13-16 action.
Bosnia and Herzegovina were defeated by Germany 97-58 to be relegated back to Division B after they had just returned to the top flight last summer. Germany led 37-10 after 10 minutes and never looked back, being paced by Jacob Patrick's 22 points while Benjamin Schroder had 18 points. Vuk Bojanic and Gabriel Colak both had 12 points for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
After three straight summers in Division A, Estonia were downed by Latvia 71-62 to be relegated back to Division B. Latvia were up by 24 points but watched as Estonia cut the gap to seven points. Still the cushion was big enough and Latvia prevailed thanks to 17 points from Kristaps Arbidans.
Germany and Latvia have not been saved from the drop yet as they will square off in Classification 13-14 with the winner remaining in Division A and the loser joining Bosnia and Herzegovina and Estonia in Division B.