By Daniel AubreyFrance bounced back from their defeat to Latvia in the preliminary round to storm to an emphatic 82-68 victory over Turkey.
The physical strength of the French was the key feature in the tie, as they dominated the rebound whilst shooting well with Edwin Jackson back to his best with 21 points.
He was joined in double figures by Christophe Leonard and Antoine Diot, who was again a commanding force in the French side booming out commands to his teammates whilst on and off the court.
|Antoine Diot was one of France's top scorers with 16 points.|
It was his two point jump shot that got France up and running after 24 seconds played, and with another two points a minute later from Leonard they took a lead that would never be relinquished.
Some poor shooting from the Turks allowed France to gradually pull away to a big 11 point lead by the end of the first half, during which time the big Frenchmen pulled down 17 of 20 rebounds at their basket to deny Turkey any second chances whilst continuing to run the fast break and shoot well through Jackson.
Things got worse for Turkey as from 5:00 to 1:28 in the third quarter they missed seven consecutive shots and turned the ball over twice whilst France continued to dominate, growing a 69-50 lead to effectively close out the Turks.
A slight comeback in the last quarter wasn’t enough to bring it back for Turkey, who again had Dogus Balbay playing well with 18 points and six rebounds.
As Diot pointed out, this was the win the reigning champions needed to get their tournament back on track: “This is the first of two really big games for us if we want to do anything in this tournament. Now we face Israel in a massive game for the semi-finals”.
Latvia still lead the group after winning all four games so far, whilst Greece could join them on four wins if they overcome Estonia tonight.