Basketball: Miami Heat's Goran Dragic leads Slovenia to maiden European title

Slovenia's Goran Dragic holds the trophy during the award ceremony after winning against Serbia the EuroBasket 2017 final match between Slovenia and Serbia, in Istanbul, Turkey on Sept 17, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

Istanbul (AFP) - Slovenia won their first European basketball title on Sunday with a 93-85 victory against Serbia.

Miami Heat point guard Goran Dragic, playing his last international match, led the way with 35 points as Slovenia, with just two million people, became the smallest country to lift the title since Latvia in 1935.

Dragic's points were the most in a final since Spanish star Pau Gasol's 36 in 2003 and short of Aleksandar Djordjevic's all-time record of 41.

Klemen Prepelic claimed 21 points and American Anthony Randolph, who only became a Slovenian citizen in June, had 11.

"We were chasing a medal for 25 years and now we have gold - it's incredible," said Prepelic.

Slovenia's victory push was almost derailed when 18-year-old Luka Doncic hobbled off with an injury with his team leading by eight points midway through the third quarter.

With the scores level with just over two minutes left, Klemen Prepelic hit a clutch shot followed by a Randolph jumper to give Slovenia the breathing space they needed.

Earlier, brothers Pau and Marc Gasol scored 26 and 25 points respectively as Spain claimed their ninth European medal in the last 10 editions with a 93-85 win against Russia in the third-place match.

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