Beware - a new France team has arrived at the UMCOR U18 European Championship Men.
After three difficult defeats, the French rebounded with a resounding 86-43 victory over hosts Greece in the quarter-final round.
|France out-rebounded Greece 65-25.|
France will play Italy and Greece takes on Lithuania tomorrow in the final day of quarter-final round play. Both games will have huge implications on who advances to the semi-final round.
There was nothing uncertain about France’s win as Les Blues jumped out to a 22-8 first quarter lead and went into halftime with a 40-24 advantage.
Leading 63-39 after three quarter, France continued to pour it on in the fourth, outscoring Greece 23-4.
The performance was particularly awing considering that this was the same team that just a few days ago lost to Iceland.
“I don’t understand it,” admitted French coach Richard Billant.
|Nicolas Batum scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for France.|
The fourth quarter quickly became a highlight show as France put together an array of spectacular dunks.
“Before we were mentally dead. Now we are alive. We are a new team,” said Billant.
France’s Nicolas Batum, considered one of the top prospects in the competition, scored 18 points, two of which came on an emphatic facial dunk over Greece’s Alexandros Sigkounas in the second quarter.
“We spoke among yourseleves and had several meetings to address our problems,” said Batum.
“We reacted. We are now a part of the French national team and not playing as individuals.”
France’s towering front line dominated Greece, particularly on the boards.
The French had a decisive 65-25 rebounding advantage. Batum pulled down 16.
Their defense was also effective, particlurly on Sigkounas, who entered play as Greece’s leading scorer.
Sigkounas was held to just four points.
Edwin Jackson scored 18 for France.