Spain retain FIBA U18 European Championship crown by beating hosts Turkey
IZMIR (Turkey) - Spain successfully retained their FIBA U18 European Championship crown after they defeated Turkey 68-61 in the Final on Sunday.
It was the same outcome as when the tournament was last held three years ago as Spain repeated their 2019 triumph to complete a perfect week in Izmir.
Spain were in control for the majority of the contest as they gradually broke away from late in the first to lead by as many as 14 points in the second half. The hosts were not about to give in - coming back from a 20-point deficit in the Semi-Finals - and they opened the fourth with a 7-2 run to close the gap.
However, Spain managed to keep them at bay as an incredible passage ensued that saw Izan Almansa and Berke Buyuktuncel trade big plays in consecutive possessions. Rafael Vilar hit the dagger from beyond the arc with 1:18 remaining and finished with a game-high 20 points.
Spain's Almansa was named as the tournament MVP with Buyuktuncel joining his rival in the All-Star Five. There were also spots for Lithuania's Paulius Murauskas, Ilija Milijasevic of Serbia and Israel point guard Noam Yaacov.
Meanwhile, Serbia won the battle for bronze as they edged out Slovenia in a 70-67 triumph as Djordje Curcic led the way with 21 points. It was a return to the podium for Serbia after back-to-back title successes in 2017 and 2018 with a 12-1 run in the fourth proving pivotal.
France secured the final ticket to next year's FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup as they recorded a 66-56 success against Italy to secure a top-five finish. Kymany Houinsou put up 20 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks with Zacharie Perrin also starring with 14 points and 18 boards.
Elsewhere, Lithuania eased past Israel 89-64 to take 7th place as Paulius Murauskas dropped 32 points. Poland cruised past Czech Republic in a 76-39 in the battle for 9th and Germany overcame Greece to win 74-67 in the 11-12 Classification Game.
Croatia defeated North Macedonia 72-59, while Great Britain avoided bottom place with a 78-74 victory over Montenegro behind 26 points from Latrell Davis with both sides playing in Division B next summer.
10. Czech Republic
14. North Macedonia
15. Great Britain
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