Slovenia Edge France

18.07.2006

Slovenia got their Ostchem U20 European Championship quarter-final round campaign off to a great start in Izmir on Tuesday with a 67-65 win against France.

In an extremely tight-fought match, France had two opportunities to win in the final 3 seconds, but came up short on both shot attempts.

Charles Lombahe-Kahudi had the first opportunity. The athletic 197 cm forward drove baseline, but met two defenders under the basket and was unable to get his shot off.

Luckily for France, the ball hit a Slovenian defender and went out of bounds, giving them one more chance to either tie or win the game.

The final shot fell to Michael Mokongo as an inbounds pass found him in the corner for a three-pointer, but his attempt was off the mark and Slovenia were left to celebrate.

The game could have been decided earlier as Slovenia seemed in control for most of the fourth quarter.

They led 64-55 at the period's halfway point on a Jaka Klobucar three-pointer, and when Emir Preldzic came up with a steal on the next play, Slovenia had a golden opportunity to extend their lead even further.

However, a turnover by Rok Perko gave France a ray of hope and they slowly closed the gap, with a three from Mokongo giving them cutting the lead to one point, 65-64.

Slovenia center Gasper Vidmar finished with 20 points and 3 blocks for Slovenia while Klobucar had 19.

Mokongo top scored for France with 29 points.


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