Sunday was the final day of the 2016 U20 FIBA European Championship, and it was an outstanding ending for both Spain and Italy.
Yankuba Sima and Spain captured the tournament title with a 68-55 victory over Lithuania. Marc Garcia scored 21 points for Spain, while Francisco Alonso put up another solid offensive performance by dropping 11 points. Lithuania's 16 turnovers had a profound impact on the game, especially in the second half when Garcia got hot on the offensive end.
Federico Mussini and Italy wrapped up their tournament experience with a 86-79 win over Latvia in the fifth place game. The Italians shot 43 percent from beyond the arc and nailed 13 total three pointers in the victory. They also dished out 26 assists, moving the ball with ease around the perimeter and in transition.
Italy finished the event with three loses (Czech Republic, Sweden and Turkey), but righted the ship in the consolation bracket with a payback win over Czech Republic and Sunday's victory against Latvia.
Mussini has mediocre finish
With fifth place on the line, Mussini finished with just six points on 1-of-7 shooting, three assists, one steal and zero turnovers in 19 minutes of action. He shot 0-of-3 from beyond the arc and hit 4-of-4 free throws from the line.
Mussini continues to struggle when trying to stay in front of his man in the pick-and-roll, he didn't grab a single rebound, and sat 10 minutes between the 3rd and 4th quarter.
Fortunately for Italy, they didn't need much production from Mussini to capture a victory over Latvia.
But there was one positive to take away from this performance.
Italy's offense revolves around ball movement and the point guard certainly was making smart, intelligent, efficient passes within the framework of the scheme. He was also making great decisions in transition - rather than taking a contested, forced shot, he found the open man on the perimeter or the open man filling the lane.
Mussini finished the tournament 11.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
Sima has shaky final outing
Nothing is better than winning a title. However, Sima had very little impact on Spain's final game, as he finished with just two points on 1-of-7 shooting, five boards and one block in 20 minutes of action. Sima wasn't on the floor to close out the game late in the 4th quarter, and had trouble finishing around the basket.
On the defensive end, Spain did not place Sima in the middle of the zone because his length was critical in terms of challenging Lithuania's shooters in the corner or on the left wing. Unfortunately, Lithuania was in groove from downtown in the first half and Sima was soon switched back to the middle of the zone, where he could challenge opposing bigs at the rim.
One of the highlights of Sima's afternoon was a monster block that was nearly sent into the first row of the stands. But Sima had less altered/blocked shots because of Lithuania's tendency to turn the ball over or fall in love with the perimeter jumper.
He also showed off his quick hands defensively, as he snatched up four steals in three quarters and nearly knocked the ball loose in a pick-and-roll situation.