Places 5-8: France - Croatia


The first quarter was a period of basket trading . The French team put their swing man Alain Digbeu on the Croatian point guard Damir Mulaomerovic in order to prevent him organiing the Croatian offense. Digbeu was the only French player not to be substituted in this quarter.

Croatia had the edge on the rebounds with a 12 - 6 start but they could not manage a comfortable lead mostly because they turned the ball over 7 times (3 by Mulaomerovic). The period ended with a 23 - 21 Croatia lead. The French team managed a field goal in each of their 7 possesions to start the second quarter which brought them a 9-point lead (37-28) 05:48 to go in the half. This was quickly answered with a 16 - 2 Croatia run thanks to 8 points by Nikola Vujcic, the substitute that has brought speed and versatility to the Croatian frontcourt together with Nikola Prkacin. The upcoming star of French basketball, Tony Parker was the leading scorer with 13 points, including 2 buzzer-beaters at the end of each quarter. However, Croatia was in the driving seat with a three point lead at the end of the 1st half: 46-43. In the third quarter, Damir Mulaomerovic, who has escaped the tough defense of Alain Digbeu and was guarded by Tony Parker, scored 10 points. However, there was no company for him with Gordan Giricek on the bench the entire quarter. Towards the end of the quarter, the French made a 11-2 run with Laurent Foirest hitting three conscutive treys which caused Coach Alexander Petrovic to call a time-out. But, this happened to have no effect on the French run which increased with 7 more points, including an incredible buzzer-beater by Evtimov from his own half to end the quarter.

The shooting clinic for the French then suddenly turned into a drought as they struggled to score a field goal in 6 consecutive possesions which allowed Croatia to come within 6 points (79 - 73). The French Coach Alain Weisz immediately regrouped his team with a timeout which helped the French to stand firm against any challenges from the Croats to win the game with the final score of 90 - 79. The French team had 4 players in double figures with Tony Parker leading the way with his game-high 19 points.

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