The men’s European basketball championship ended with a final between Spain and France. Spain won 88–76 in a battle where France almost managed to build a large Spanish lead in the middle of the game.
France took a 1–0 lead but never led thereafter. Spain laid the foundation for victory in the first period and held a 23–14 lead with a quarter of the game played.
At its largest, the Spanish lead was just before the match reached the halfway point. Spain then had a whopping 21 points (47–26) to their credit over France.
France nevertheless worked their way back into the match and had turned 47–26 into 49–46 shortly after the break. Then Spain got going again, extending the lead to 61-48, and France never got a chance to sniff the gold.
Spain’s victory numbers were finally written 88-76 and the Spaniard Juancho Hernangomez, everyday in the NBA club Toronto Raptors, was the final’s most efficient player with his 27 points. Frenchman Evan Fournier, who plays for the New York Knicks, was second with 23 points.
– They had a clear plan, while we didn’t execute ours very well. We were never really in control of the game. They were simply better, says Fournier according to the AP news agency.
The European Championship gold has gone to Spain four times in the last six tournaments. In addition, Spain is the reigning world champion.
It was an inexperienced Spanish team that won the EC tournament as eight out of twelve players made their championship debut. Brothers Pau and Marc Gasol retired after the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, while Sergio Llull and Ricky Rubio are injured.
In the quarter-finals, where Spain defeated Finland 100-90, the new champion team was in a bad place. Just before the game, Finland had reached the halfway point of a 15-point lead (50–35) but then lost its grip.
No Markkanen in the all star five
In connection with the final, the tournament’s all-star team was also named as voted by the journalists. The Spaniard Willy Hernangomez, who was part of the team, was also chosen as the tournament’s most valuable player (MVP).
In addition to Hernangomez, the five also included Lorenzo Brown (Spain), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Rudy Gobert (France) and Dennis Schröder (Germany).
1. Lauri Markkanen (FIN) 195
2. Luka Doncic (SLO) 182
3. Dennis Schroder (GER) 177
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (GRE) 176
5. Willy Hernangomez (ESP) 155
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (GRE) 29.3
2. Lauri Markkanen (FIN) 27.9
3. Aleksandar Vezenkov (BUL) 26.8
4. Luka Doncic (SLO) 26.0
5. Dennis Schroder (GER) 22.1
Lauri Markkanen thus did not get a place, even though he scored the most points in the tournament (195) and had the second best average (27.9).
– There was speculation that Markkanen would place, says Yle Urheilus expert Pieti Poikola.
– Lorenzo Brown and Willy Hernangomez are correct picks. It’s hard to poke Rudy Gobert. Antetokounmpo had a sharp tournament. I understand that the choice fell on them. The hardest choice was probably between Markkanen and Antetokounmpo. It would not have been wrong to choose Markkanen.
The next European Basketball Championship will be played in three years, and in autumn 2025, Finland will be one of the tournament’s four host nations.
Final: Spain–France 88–76 (47–36)
Bronze match: Germany-Poland 82-69 (36-23)