The final game of the wheelchair basketball event at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games saw Spain and the USA tip off in the men’s gold medal game.
The crowd was treated to a thrilling first quarter with little separating the two sides – with just over two minutes to go, the game was locked on 8 points apiece. However, showing the form that had gotten the team to the final without losing a game, the USA then pushed ahead to close out the opening 10 minutes by 12-8.
It was Spain who got the scoring underway at the start of the second quarter, immediately closing the gap back down to two points; a strong final push by America in the last two minutes of the half, however, saw the USA enter half time with a 29-23 advantage.
The third quarter saw both teams continue to battle hard, Spain once again finding a way to shrink the deficit down – this time to two points – but once again the USA hit back to move into the final 10 minutes of the game with a 47-42 lead.
With the Spanish side constantly posing a threat, the USA put on a stunning performance in the final quarter: outshooting their opponents by 21-10 to become the Paralympic Champions with a 68-52 victory.
Spain Head Coach Jose Manuel Artacho said: “We’re disappointed because we’ve lost the game, but we know how difficult it is to beat the USA – they deserved the gold, they played better than my team. But we’ll celebrate and enjoy our silver – I think my team deserved that prize because we showed the world what our team can do as a unit.”
USA Head Coach Ron Lykins said: “It feels phenomenal to have won gold! It’s a lot of work that goes into this – I’m really really happy for our guys: a lot of them have been around with us for four years and for all the work that they’ve done to be able to take that last step, I’m just really happy for them.”
For full match statistics click here https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-mens-gold-medal-match-wb-2