Champion keeps Euro hoop title
Updated: 2011-09-20 08:03
KAUNAS, Lithuania - Spain won its second successive European basketball championship after beating France 98-85 in a spectacular final in the Zhalgiris Arena on Sunday.
Spain's starting five scored a whopping 86 points, more than the entire 12-man French roster, as the champion demonstrated its class and finished the grueling 24-team tournament with an impressive 10-1 record.
Spain, which was led by inspirational point guard Juan Carlos Navarro with 27 points, also became the first team to win back-to-back titles since the former Yugoslavia did it in the 1995 and 1997 tournaments.
Jose Luis Calderon and Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol added 17 points each for Spain, the latter also collecting 10 rebounds, Rudy Fernandez added 14 while Marc Gasol chipped in with 11 and six rebounds in front of 15,000 fans.
Tony Parker scored 26 points for France as the two teams, who have 11 NBA players between them, produced a match worthy of the tournament's favorites.
Navarro also claimed the event's Most Valuable Player award and it was no more than he deserved after yet another breathtaking performance, having overshadowed his opposite number Parker.
Navarro hit audacious three-pointers from almost impossible angles every time France, which trailed throughout the contest, threatened to catch up.
Earlier on Sunday, 2007 champion Russia won the bronze medal with a dramatic 72-68 win over the tournament's surprise package Macedonia.
Spain and France qualified automatically for the 2012 Olympics in London.
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