Serbia claims U20 European Gold

SerbiaSerbia ended 7 years of hurt to defeat Spain and once again lay claim to the FIBA U20 European Championship Gold. A 70-64 win was enough to hand the country a first championship since 2008 and propelled Serbia to 5 U20 titles overall, a record. It was a tight decider between two nations that entered the showpiece finale with 100% record, but the Slick Serb contingent had too much for a spirited Spanish outfit.

The loss meant Spanish hearts were broken at the last hurdle once again, with the country finishing runner up for the second consecutive year.

It was an extremely close game for large periods as both sides traded buckets and locked the scoreboard on numerous occasions. Both teams started with a high tempo and through an engaging first quarter went blow for blow, although Spain carved a 1 point lead, 20-21, through 10 minutes. Not much changed in the second period, although Serbia hit back with a 17-15 run that ensured a single point halftime lead (37-36). The third act proved to be the breakthrough for Serbia; Juan Hernangomez drained a triple for Spain to tie the game 45-45, the 14th of the game, but Serbia responded and held a 53-45 lead after thirty minutes. The Serbs then upped the class and showed experience beyond an U20 team to close out the game and claim the European Championship.

Spain looked deadly from downtown in the first quarter as Marc Garcia propelled 5 from 8 shooting, but it all fell apart behind the arc after with only 2 of the next 17 finding net. That meant Serbia could draw Spain inside and control them in the paint, especially in the fourth quarter when the winners also grabbed 8 second chance points.

Ognjen Jaramaz had the only double-double of the game as he picked up a game high 19 points and 10 rebounds. Marko Guduric followed with 14 points and Rade Zagorac offered 11 points and 7 boards.

Hernangomez topped Spain with 17 points, while Garcia’s red hot three shooting in the first quarter sent him to 17 points overall.

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