Ricard Rubio continued his all-around brilliant play at the Termosteps U16 European Championship Men as Spain defeated Italy 79-72.
With the victory, Spain improve to 3-0 in the quarter-final round and advance to the semi-final round, where they will take on Croatia this Saturday night.
Rubio scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half as Spain went into halftime with a 46-39 lead.
|Rubio scored a clinching jumper with 21 seconds remaining.|
Rubio scored in a variety of ways: drives to the basket, three-point field goals and even an alley-oop dunk.
He also grabbed nine rebounds, dished out five assists and tallied seven steals for the game and scored the clinching basket with 21 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
With Spain ahead by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, Italy scored nine unanswered to get within 71-72 with just under two minutes remaining.
Spain answered as Ignacio Esteban hit a jumper and following an empty Italian possession, Esteban hit a three-pointer to give Spain some breathing room with a 77-71 lead with 58 seconds to go.
Italy turned the ball over on their ensuing possession and Rubio provided the final blow to the Italians by hitting a jumper with 21 seconds remaining to put his side up by nine and essentially seal the win for Spain.
Italy led by as many as eight in the first quarter, but Spain out-scored the Italians 11-2 over the final 1:47.
Rubio’s three-pointer with 19 seconds to go was the exclamation point on the run and put Spain ahead 24-23 after one quarter of play.
The teams went back and forth in the second quarter.
Spain increased their lead from one (31-30) to eight going on a 17-6 spurt over 6:00 minutes to close the half with a 46-39 advantage.
Armand Sole scored 10 of his 13 points in the third quarter as Spain maintained a 63-58 lead going into the fourth.