HELSINKI, Finland (FIBA U20 European Championship 2016) – Spain have been crowned champions on Sunday night at the FIBA U20 European Championship in Helsinki, Finland after defeating Lithuania 68-55 in the Final.
Having lost the previous two Finals at this age category, Juan Orenga’s team used a 12-0 run in the final quarter to put the game beyond Lithuania’s reach and celebrate their first U20 gold in five years. In 2011, it was also Orenga at the helm to lead Spain to the title, with Nikola Mirotic claiming MVP honours.
This time, it was Marc Garcia to be named tournament MVP following a 21-point performance in the gold medal game. Garcia led a balanced Spanish team in scoring with 14.9 points per game in the tournament. He was joined in the All-Star Five by team-mate and Spanish team captain Francisco Alonso, Lithuanian guard Kristupas Zemaitis, Finnish standout and tournament top-scorer Lauri Markkanen, and center Omer Yurtseven of bronze medallists Turkey.
Earlier in the day, France escaped relegation with a 79-70 win over Belgium in the Classification Game for 13th-14th Place. The Belgians drop to Division B for 2017 and are joined by Finland and Hungary, whose fate had already been decided one day prior.
Meanwhile, there was no shortage of drama in Chalkida, Greece, where the FIBA U20 European Championship Division B concluded with Montenegro, Iceland and Greece booking their Division A ticket for 2017. Iceland were the surprise package of the tournament, defeating the Greek hosts in Saturday’s Semi-Finals to secure Division A status at U20 level for the first time in history.
In the Final, the Icelandic team pushed Montenegro to overtime, outscoring their opponents 26-12 in the last stanza to level the game, but had to settle for silver after falling 78-76. Greece captured third place with a 73-67 win over Croatia to seal their return to Division A.
The FIBA U20 European Championship Division A standings are:
- Czech Republic