The Spanish national basketball team beat Croatia 92-66 on Sunday to win the bronze medal at the 28th European basketball championship here.
The Spanish team - bouncing back nicely from their dramatic 75-72 semi-final defeat by France - led from the start and took home its seventh medal in eight years, having won the world gold in Japan in 2006, the European silver in Spain the next year, the Olympic silver at the Beijing Games in 2008, European golds in Poland in 2009 and in Lithuania in 2001 and the Olympic silver in London last year.
Croatia was on the road to a loss in the contest for the bronze even before the game began after it attempted to adjust itself to the Spanish team's characteristics and refused to play a four-man approach, opting instead for three "small" men in the frontcourt, but it paid dearly for that right from the start.
By the end of the first quarter, the score was 23-18 for Spain, after two consecutive three-pointers by shooting guard Sergio Llull, who scored 21 overall.
In the second quarter, the Croatian tactic was to use small men to try and knock Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol out of his comfort zone while collapsing around him on defense.
The tactic didn't work, though, as Gasol scored 17 points and snagged eight rebounds.
It was in the third quarter, however, when the Spaniards really went out ahead, finishing out the period 63-48 after a 7-1 run in the last three minutes, and the fourth quarter was more of the same on the road to the final result. EFE