Spain Snatch Bronze From Latvia

28.07.2013

U18 MEN

Juan Hernangomez made the game-winning three for Spain with 2.6 left to play
Juan Hernangomez was the hero for Spain, silencing Arena Riga when he hit his three with 2.6 seconds to play

Turning Point: Tiny point guard Alberto Martin drove into paint to complete a floater that brought Spain within a point with 1:51 remaining. Martin's drive was significant in that put Spain in a position to steal the win, but also symbolised the team's never give up attitude in the face of an MVP performance from Latvia's Kristaps Porzingis.
Game Hero: Juan Hernangomez managed just eight points in the win, but the forward nailed two last-quarter threes, including the game-winner with two seconds remaining.
Stats Don't Lie: Three-point shooting was not a strength of either side on the night, however Spain's four-from-nine fourth quarter effort propelled them to the win. 

Spain are the U18 European Championship bronze medal winners after Juan Hernangomez knocked down a three-point shot with 2.6 seconds remaining to defeat Latvia 57-56 in Riga on Sunday. 

A two-handed slam by Ivars Zvigurs capped off a stellar first quarter for Latvia, soured only by two fouls each to star centers Anzejs Pasecniks and Kristaps Porzingis.

Latvia built a 10-point lead early in the second quarter when Porzingis chased down Juan Hernangomez's fast-break lay-up attempt, but the big man picked up his third foul shortly after and was forced again to the bench. A couple of threes to Rolands Smits and Davis Geks re-established the host nation's double-digit lead midway through the term.

David Iriarte and Agusti Sans facilitated a Spanish comeback that came within five points of Latvia's lead forcing coach Nikolajs Mazurs to put Porzingis back in the game. The move paid off and Porzingis collected his fourth and fifth blocked shots - enough for Latvia to take a seven-point lead into the half.

Spain mounted an unlikely comeback after a poor start to the third quarter. They missed their first five shots in the term, but gathered some steam over the final five minutes. A Marc Garcia triple, followed by back-to-back elbow jumpers from Sans cut a 13-point lead down to two.

The first two minutes of the fourth saw both sides go scoreless and Pasecniks collected his fifth foul in the opening minute.

Hernangomez put Spain up one with his first three of quarter, but captain Kristaps Plavnieks and Porzingis looked to have the result wrapped up for Latvia with seven straight points.

Sans scored his only basket of the quarter, a three from the right side before both teams went scoreless over a three-minute stretch.

Latvia regained the lead on two Rihards Lomazs free throws, forcing Garcia to tie the game with a three.

Plavnieks went to the line and buried two more foul shots with 11 seconds remaining, setting up Hernangomez for the game-winning three.

Sans led Spain with a game-high 18 points, a number of those coming in their third quarter comeback. David Iriarte chipped in 11 points and six rebounds against quality big men opposition.

Porzingis was the bronze medal game's best player, barely missing out on a triple-double. He scored 11 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked nine shots.

 

 


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