In front of a raucous pro-Romanian crowd at Polyvalent Hall, Spain fended of a testy Romanian squad who kept pace with the favorites in the first quarter before Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, and Juancho Hernangomez pulled away in the second half to win 91-50 and move to 3-0 in the group phase of EuroBasket 2017.
After cruising past the Czech Republic 93-56 on Saturday, head coach Sergio Scariolo opted to rest big man Pau Gasol and give more playing time to Hernangomez and Spain’s other bench players. The Nuggets’ swingman answered the call and put together his best game of the tournament.
Hernangomez finished with 18 points on 7-15 shooting, 12 rebounds (six offensive and six defensive) one assist and one block in nearly 27 minutes — the most he’s played at EuroBasket so far. In his first European Championships with Spain’s senior national team, Hernangomez is averaging 12.7 points and 8.3 rebounds on 41.4 percent shooting from the field over three games.
Elsewhere for Spain, Marc Gasol finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, while Willy Hernangomez scored nine points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Pierre Oriola, who started in place of Pau Gasol, scored 11 points on 5-6 shooting.
Without Pau Gasol, Hernangomez played minutes at power forward for the first time at EuroBasket. With Spain’s healthy supply of big men in both Gasol brothers and the elder Hernangomez, the 6-foot-9 forward’s services are most-needed on the perimeter. But down a big man, Hernangomez was able to slide to what many view as his natural position — power forward.
At power forward, Hernangomez, showed off his athleticism, hedging out to quell pick-and-rolls on the perimeter and was a steady force at the rim, deterring optimistic Romanian guards. On offense, Spain often put Hernangomez in pick-and-pops, one of which he converted and used him in countless off-ball actions that confused the defense eventually leading to open layups and dunks.
As always, Hernangoemz was an active off-ball mover, cutting into space and to the basket. He was also aggressive attacking the offensive glass as evident by his six offensive rebounds.
Next up for Spain is a matchup with Croatia on Tuesday (8:45 a.m. MST) that will be their toughest game at EuroBasket to date. Croatia has a roster loaded with NBA talent like Philadelphia’s Dario Saric, Phoenix’s Dragan Bender, and Indiana’s Bojan Bogdanovic.