Albicy, Lacombe On Song As France Earn Final Ticket

17 July 2010

There was a real sense of deja vu at the U20 European Championship Men 2010 in Zadar after France claimed a terrific 86-83 win over Spain in a superbly entertaining encounter to set up a repeat of last years tournament final against Greece.

In an absorbing and compelling contest from tip to buzzer, France were impressive defensively as usual and had many important contributors offensively, though none were more influential than team leader Andrew Albicy or Paul Lacombe who emerged as the hero in the late stages.

Lacombe scored 23 points in the game but his biggest influence was down the stretch. Just when France really needed someone to come up with the big plays to see off Spain he delivered with eight consecutive points including a sensational dunk and successive three-pointers.

Even more impressive was point guard Albicy who has led his team from day one and in this game he was at his peak as he recorded an outstanding double-double of 19 points and ten assists.

In one of the best games since the competition began, Spain were made to pay for a disastrous second quarter performance when they were outscored 24-10 having had a great start which gave them a seven point advantage at the end of the first quarter.

However France then really began to use their aggressive swarming defence, size and athleticism to outplay Spain. The Spanish offence simply evaporated while at the other end, Les Bleus were scoring almost at will.

They completed a 16-3 run to move ahead and having scored only one basket in five minutes, Spain tried to re-establish offensively - it was tough going against the best defence in the tournament.

It was 40-33 heading into the second half and Albicy was running the show. He took over to hand France a double-digit lead with eight points in a row including back-to-back triples.

Spain were flagging at 61-49 but after a brilliant start to the last quarter, they managed to tie the game up at 62-62 within 40 seconds. France only led by one at 76-75 with 90 seconds remaining but Lacombe and his double daggers from downtown effectively ended Spanish dreams.

Josep Franch had 22 points and six assists for Spain while team-mate Joan Sastre continued his good form with 19 points including three triples.

Watch France postgame reaction here.


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