Referees: Guerrino Cerebuch (ITA), Oscar Perea (ESP), Bert Van Slooten (NED)
France Bounce Back In Belgium
France bounced back from two consecutive defeats and won in Belgium on Saturday night to move into second place in EuroBasket qualifying Group C.
Tony Parker had another big game for Michel Gomez´s team, scoring 18 points in a 71-65 triumph.
Nothing has come easy for Les Bleus in Division A this summer and that was the case against Belgium.
Parker fouled out of the game with 1.04 remaining and in the process put Dimitri Lauwers on the line after hitting the Belgian behind the arc.
Lauwers went to the stripe and made all three free throws to cut the deficit to 66-61.
Belgium got no closer the rest of the way, however.
The hosts did themselves no favours with a woeful shooting performance from long range, making just five of 28 (17.8%) on the night.
Nando De Colo had 15 points and seven rebounds for France.
Lauwers finished with 18 points for Belgium.
France will host Ukraine on Wednesday while Belgium go up against undefeated Turkey.
Quotes Belgium vs. France
Eddy Casteels, Belgium coach:
"Small details decided the outcome of this game. We tend to dig a hole for ourselves early from which we always crawl out of in the fourth quarter. But that takes a lot of energy, which is why we missed some three-point shots in key moments. It's a pity we couldn't win, but this group showed a lot of heart and we remain focused on our goal, which is qualifying for EuroBasket 2009, in the remaining two games. Getting to the Additional Qualifying Round next year has to remain our ambition."
Sam Van Rossom, Belgium player:
"This hurts. We played a terrific first half in France, while here at home, in a great atmosphere, we were in the running the whole game. In my modest opinion, some calls favoured France, but that's part of the game. We have to remember the positive things we did this game and make sure it carries over into the next two games."
Michel Gomez, France coach:
"This is a very important victory, after the defeat in Turkey. We are back on schedule for EuroBasket 2009. It is now up to us to secure the qualification in the two remaining home games. Yes, Belgium hurt us and coach Casteels has done a great job and this group has won of lot of respect. Belgium is a worthy challenger and could have won this game."
Stephen Brun, France player:
"We needed this. We were scared of this game after they played a good game in France and won convincingly against Ukraine. If you underestimate this team, you lose. Some plays in key moments made the difference and gave us the victory. For the team, it's important that other players than Tony (Parker) scored points today."