FIBA EuroBasket 2017: Slovenia crowned European champions for the first time
Slovenia have been crowned European champions, for the first time in their history, defeating Serbia 93-85 in Sunday’s FIBA EuroBasket Final in front of 12,095 fans in Sinan Erdem Arena.
Led by tournament MVP Goran Dragic, whose 26 first-half points had Slovenia up 56-47 at half-time, they had to weather a second-half rally from Serbia, which began when 18-year-old wunderkind Luka Doncic limped off with an ankle injury.
With Dragic joining Doncic on the bench late in the game with cramps, Klemen Prepelic stepped up and Slovenia were able to maintain their composure, coming up with an answer for everything a desperate Serbian side threw at them.
Earlier in the day, Spanish legend Juan Carlos Navarro signed off his storied national team career with a bronze medal around his neck, as Spain held off a fast-finishing Russia, 93-85. Pau Gasol, who had earlier in the tournament become the FIBA EuroBasket all-time leading scorer, finished the game with a 26-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Gasol’s fantastic play throughout the tournament did not go unnoticed, with a spot in the All-Star Five awaiting him. Doncic was also rewarded for his performances in his maiden FIBA EuroBasket, earning a spot alongside his tournament roommate Dragic on the team. Rounding out the All-Star Five were Serbian leader Bogdan Bogdanovic and Russia’s Aleksei Shved.