|13 July 2005|
France dodged a couple of late bullets to beat Latvia 56-54 in the ACI Trading Ltd U20 European Championship Men in Chekov.
The French looked to be in control in the third quarter when Etienne Plateau's three-pointer gave them a 45-30 advantage, but Latvia clawed their way back and nearly stole victory in the Group F clash.
Yannick Bokolo, who had 17 points and six rebounds to lead France, buried a three-pointer with 2:24 to play for a 55-50 lead.
Agnis Cavars responded with a lay-up at the other end as Latvia closed to within 55-52 with 2:05 to play.
After Pape-Philippe Amagou was fouled and made one of two free throws, Rinalds Sirsnins' jump shot pulled the Baltic country to within 56-54 with 48 seconds remaining in the game.
When France's Thomas Larrouquis missed a jumper at the other end for France, the 1.85m guard Sirsnins rebounded and Latvia had a chance to tie or take the lead.
With just nine seconds to play, Sirsnins penetrated and went up for a lay-up but missed.
Team-mate Kaspars Berzins, who had a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds, grabbed the offensive board and passed to Cavars but the forward's shot was off target and Bokolo came down with the ball to secure victory for the French.
The result means France, 87-65 losers to tournament favourites Lithuania on Tuesday, have one win and one defeat while Latvia are 0-2 as they also lost to Serbia & Montenegro in their first Group F contest.