SMALL COUNTRIES MEN
|2014 champions Andorra|
In a thrilling final of the European Championship for Small Countries Men, Andorra held on for a 66-63 win over Malta in Gibraltar, while Scotland claimed the bronze medal.
The final was a tense, defensive affair, with both sides struggling from the field. Andorra had only seven points in the third quarter as their half-time lead evaporated.
But Andorra came out firing in the final period, with Rafael Casals' shot capping a 9-0 run which put them 57-51 ahead.
Malta rallied, holding Andorra scoreless for the final 170 seconds. Tournament MVP Darryl Jackson drained two free throws with a minute remaining to bring his squad within three points.
Jackson had a chance to tie the game but his shot bounced away, and although Casals missed a pair of free throws which could have sealed the game, the Andorran defence held firm on the final possession to celebrate a second successive gold medal.
Jackson averaged nearly 23 points per game for the tournament, but he could only notch 19 in the final. Samuel Deguara, who was the recipient of the tournament Fair Play award, had 11 points and 14 rebounds, and Tevin Alexander Falzon added 11 points off the bench for Malta.
Guillem Colom, who had impressed throughout and was named to the All-Tournament Team alongside Jackson, struggled with his shot in the final, making only 1-of-9.
But Xavier Galera stepped up superbly, draining six three-pointers on his way to 24 points, with seven rebounds and three steals for good measure. Casals had 14 points and two blocks, with both he and Galera joining Colom on the All-Tournament Team.
Rounding out the All-Tournament Team was San Marino's Andrea Raschi, but he was unable to lift his team past Scotland, who took the bronze medal with a 67-55 victory.
Almost half of San Marino's shots came from behind the arc, but they only connected five times as they registered just 29 percent shooting for the match. Scotland were able to corral the majority of the rebounds through Christopher Cleary and Nicholas Collins, who finished with 17 and 12 boards respectively.
Collins added a game-high 21 points to his haul as Scotland extended a ten-point half-time lead to 21 behind nine unanswered third-quarter points. Lee Reilly chipped in with 18 points and six rebounds. Raschi top-scored for San Marino with 13 points and grabbed six rebounds also.
Wales consigned hosts Gibraltar to sixth place in the tournament, taking a 66-59 win in the fifth-place playoff. Adam Rickwood led the Welsh team with 21 points, and Damian Cope added six points and 14 rebounds.
Sam Buxton had 16 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocks, but it wasn't enough for Gibraltar, who ended the week without a single victory.