France Defeat Croatia In Overtime

02 August 2005

France produced a come-from-behind overtime victory against Croatia in the game of the day at the Termosteps U16 European Championship in Leon, Spain.

The French have looked in excellent form so far in the tournament, but faced a tough Croatian outfit in their first quarter-final round match-up.

Croatia only just made this stage of the tournament thanks to their last-gasp overtime win against Greece on Sunday.

Bojan Bogdanovic (Croatia)
Bojan Bogdanovic with 2 of his 28 points against France
Needing to win by 7 points to progress to the quarter final round, Croatia trailed nearly the entire fourth quarter, before stunning Greece to tie the score at the buzzer, and going on to win by the required margin in the extra period, 81-73.

Just two days later, however, Croatia received a taste of their own medecine.

The Croatians had the game well in hand in the latter stages, and when Fran Pilepic (the hero of the game against Greece) hit consecutive threes either side of the third quarter break, Croatia had a healthy 59-70 lead.

France, however, trailed in the fourth quarter of all their first round games before pulling out wins, and today proved no different.

It took the French a while to start to threaten, but an Antoine Diot three-pointer sparked a 12-2 run which saw them get back to within 3 points, 79-82.

It was then Diot who came up with the 2 key plays of the game.

First he went coast to coast for a tough lay-in after Matthieu Lefevre stole the ball from Pilepic, 81-82. Then after a Croatian missed shot, he again drove the lane in the final seconds and this time was fouled.

Diot hit the first to tie the game but missed the second and the game was poised for overtime.

France looked the stronger side in overtime as Diot was once again at the fore. However, Croatia missed a golden opportunity to steal another win in extra time.

Trailing 89-90 with 14 seconds remaining, Marko Radic blew a pair of free throws which would have seen his side go in front.

Diot rebounded Radic's second effort and was fouled. He made 1 of 2 for his 7th point of the period and France held on for the win.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Croatia with 28 points while Pilepic added 26.

Diot finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds for France and Leonard chipped in with 18 points.

While France have overcome some tough challenges to maintain an unbeaten record, Lithuania have been on cruise control.

Pere Tomas (Spain)
Spain's Pere Tomas

That was certainly the case on Tuesday as they rolled to a 75-43 demolition of Ukraine.

Sarunas Vasiliauskas had a game high 21 points for Lithuania.

Turkey had a similarly easy ride against Italy.

They raced out to an 8-1 lead after 3 minutes and stayed in front for the remainder of the game. Italy closed to within 1 point twice in the second quarter, but Turkey quickly restored the margin and cruised home, 92.73.

Shooting guard Dogus Balbay led Turkey with 20 points.

Spain were up in the last game of the day and they didn't dissapoint the home crowd with a comprehensive defeat against Russia.

It was a top quality display from the Spanish who scored 5 unanswered points to open a game which they led from start to finish.

Inside players Pere Tomas and Pablo Aguilar were in sparkling form for Spain against an intimidating Russian line featuring the tournament's leading rebounder Pavel Gromyko (17.8 rpg).

Tomas and Aguilar combined for 45 points and 17 rebounds as Spain held off a Russian charge down the stretch.

Russia had a slim chance of victory when they trailed by 7 points with just over 30 seconds to play.

But Spanish guard Ricard Rubio pick-pocketed Russia's Dmitry Khostov and found Tomas for a fast break dunk which settled the game.

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