LIGNANO, July 20, 2015: Serbia have returned to the top of the podium at the U20 European Championship Men for the first time since 2008.
Coming up against last year’s silver medallists Spain in the tournament final on Sundaynight, this was always going to be a fight down to the wire and so it proved with a Juan Hernangomez three reducing the score to less than three, 67-64, with under 60 seconds to play.
A nervy Serbia then struggled to close the came out, twice missing from close range beforeMarko Guduric nailed an off-balance lay-up with the clock showing 20 seconds remaining to seal eventual victory, 70-64.
Having played a major role in earning the gold medal for his country with his late heroics taking his tally for the night to 14 points, the Serbian shooting guard had further reason to celebrate when he was named tournament MVP.
He was joined on the All-Star Five by team-mate Nikola Rebic, Belgium’s Emmanuel Lecomte, Juan Hernangomez from Spain and Turkey’s Emircan Kosut.
Earlier in the day, Kosut played a key hand in assuring that last year’s gold medallists Turkey would return to the podium, defeating France 84-74 in the bronze medal game.
With the 20-team tournament being reduced to 16 for next season, there was no shortage of drama taking place at the other end of the competition.
Coming into Sunday’s action, Division B fate for 2016 had already been confirmed for Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Croatia, Russia and Great Britain, leaving Slovenia and Poland fighting it out for the one remaining berth in Division A.
In a defensive-minded second-half in which they only gave up 11 points, it was Slovenia who were able to celebrate, comfortably navigating their way to victory 86-43.
Moving up to Division A in 2016 are Hungary, Sweden and Finland, who defeated their Scandinavian neighbours Sweden 80-76 in Sunday’s Division B final.
6. Czech Republic
15. Great Britain
19. Bosnia and Herzegovina
20. Bulgaria. —- fibaeurope
Share on Facebook