After a too easy win on opening night France showed today there are made of enough toughness to win a close game by overcoming Russia 88-82 in Group D.
France is now on top of the group with a 2-0 record, as Russia fell to 0-2.
The winning side had no less than six players in double digits, led by Antoine Diot who shinned with 23 points, six assists and three steals.
Ludovic Vaty did a great job on both ends of the floor hitting 15 points, blocking two shots and grabbing six boards. Kim Tillie followed with 13 points and a team high of eight rebounds.
Semen Antonov led Russia with 15 points, while three players - Valentin Novikov, Maxim Krivosheev and Alexey Shved - added 14 each.
|Alexey Shved led Russia with 14 points, two rebounds and three assists.|
"It wasn't easy to make the switch after the game yesterday," said Head Coach Richard Billiant of France.
"Slovenia played good today, but yesterday it was too easy for us, and we needed to make a switch."
"I'm happy we proved we can do that."
France finished the first quarter up by 22-21 despite Shved already having nine points.
Edwin Jackson enjoyed a good momentum and together with a great job of the very active Tillie on both ends of the floor, France climbed to 36-30.
Dmitry Khvostov hit twice from long range in a 10-0 Russia run, which was enough to give his team a 44-38 lead at half time.
"In the first half we focused too much on how to stop Shved," confessed Coach Billiant.
"At half time I told my players that Shved can score as much as he wants. We need to stop Russia, and not just him.
Vaty and Tillie locked the paint, not to allow Russia to take more offensive boards, but their team needed a few more minutes to make their run.
Entering the last quarter down by a point, 62-61, France stormed right away with big pressure on defense.
For almost six minutes Russia scored only two points, and their opponents used that to develop a 75-64 lead with five minutes to play.
Russia put pressure on the ball and came as close as 85-80 with 71 seconds to play, but nothing closer than that.
"We knew Russia will be a tough opponent and that we won't have as easy life as in the first game," shared Diot after the win.
"We came back from the locker-room more focused and played tougher defense. That helped us make the difference and keep the record clean," he concluded.
France will go head-to-head with Serbia for the top spot in the group tomorrow, while Russia and Slovenia will fight to have more peace and quiet in the days to come as the winner will avoid the 13-16 classification games.