France crowned champions at FIBA U18 European

Samsun, Turkey, Dec 23, 2016: France have claimed gold at the FIBA U18 European Championship in Samsun on Thursday, following a 75-68 win over Lithuania in the Final.

The French side remained undefeated throughout the tournament to capture their first U18 title since 2006. It is the second gold medal for the 1998-generation after having won the FIBA U16 European Championship in 2014.

In a thrilling Final of two basketball heavyweights, France were led by Frank Ntilikina, who made 7-of-10 three-pointers on his way to a game-high 31 points. Arnoldas Kulboka paced Lithuania with 28 points.

Ntilikina was voted as MVP of the tournament, having averaged 15.2 points and 4.5 assists per game, including an impressive 23-point, 9-assist and 4-rebound showing in the Semi-Finals against Italy.

He was joined on the All-Star Five by team-mate and 2000-born sensation Sekou Doumbouya, Tadas Sedekerskis of Lithuania, German big man Isaiah Hartenstein and Italian captain Davide Moretti.

Italy bounced back in style from their Semi-Finals loss by edging out Germany 74-68 in the Third-Place Game. Led by Alessandro Lever and Moretti, who finished the game with 18 and 17 points respectively, the Italians reached the podium at U18 level for the first time since 2005, when they had also captured bronze.

Having stepped on the podium at each of the five European youth championships this summer, men and women, Spain missed out on silverware this time around. However, the Spanish side had plenty of reason to celebrate as they downed Bosnia and Herzegovina 77-65 to claim fifth place and book the final European ticket to the FIBA U19 World Championship 2017, joining the four semi-finalists in Cairo next summer.

Earlier in the day, Latvia preserved their Division A status by defeating Croatia 90-76 in the Classification Game for 13th Place. The Croatians have been relegated to Division B for 2017, together with Israel and Sweden, whose fate was decided one day earlier.

The three teams will be replaced in Division A by Montenegro, Ukraine and Slovak Republic, who earned promotion to the top-flight through the FIBA U18 European Championship Division B earlier this year.

The final FIBA U18 European Championship standings are:
1. France
2. Lithuania
3. Italy
4. Germany
5. Spain
6. Bosnia and Herzegovina
7. Russia
8. Finland
9. Greece
10. Serbia
11. Slovenia
12. Turkey
13. Latvia
14. Croatia
15. Israel
16. Sweden. —- FIBA

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