France Hold Off Turkey

20.08.2008

France made a big step towards the semi-finals with a 67-60 win over Turkey in Group F of the Qualifying Round.

The win ties the record between both teams at 3-1.

If France would beat Latvia in the opening game of the day tomorrow, Turkey will have to beat the so far unbeatable Russia by seven points or more to qualify.

As long as they beat Latvia the French would qualify if Russia beats Turkey, but will make it if Turkey wins by less than seven or by more than ten.

Any other result would send Russia and Turkey to the semi-finals together.

Evan Fournier stepped up for France in a huge night with 31 points on 55% shooting with five rebounds.

12 of his points were consecutive in the last quarter when his team needed it the most.

Enes Kanter had another double-double with 26 points and 13 rebounds for Turkey and he was followed by Burak Yuksel with 16 and Safak Edge with 14.

Turkey had the upper had in the first period but France took over before the half.

An early fourth quarter run by Turkey put them top for the last time, before Fournier took over the game and secured the win for his team.

It took more than three minutes before Turkey scored the first points in the game, but France waited a couple more before going on the board as well.

Edge and Kanter carried the Turks to a 13-8 lead, but Fournier took over the game and scored seven in a row to make it 21-16 with four minutes to play in the half.

France continued to ache, and entered the break with a 31-21 lead.

Leo Westermann joined Fournier as their team kept a close eye on the lead and entered the deciding quarter with a 50-42 margin.

Yuksel, Edge and Kanter wrote nine points in a row to take the lead and shock France, but once again Fournier showed up.

He scored the following 12 points of France to enter the last two minutes with a 62-60 lead.

A couple of turnovers and five points in a row by Mourad Benkloua  in the closing seconds made the difference, and the Group F much more exciting coming the closing day.

France will take on Latvia tomorrow and pray for a precious win, while Turkey will try to become the first team to beat Russia and by the needed margin.


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