France Prevails After Lithuanian Collapse

20.07.2006

Lithuania sensationally blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead as Sourata Cisse scored 16 of his 25 points in the final nine minutes to give France a 79-77 victory at the OSTCHEM U-20 European Championship.

Lithuania's Giedrius Kurtinaitis could have forced overtime but he missed two of his three free throws with one second remaining to give France the win in their final quarter-final Group E game.

The result means France finished the group with a 1-2 record while Lithuania lost all three games.

Cisse dragged his team back into the match after trailing 67-50 with nine minutes left - Lithuania's largest lead of the game.

His lay-up with 4:20 remaining made it 72-66 to put his side within touching distance of the leaders. 

Paulius Abramavicius responded with a three-pointer to make it a nine point lead.

But Aldo Curti answered with a three-pointer of his own and converted a three-point play to pull within 75-72 with 3:16 left in the game.

Cisse then made another lay-up to make it a one-point game and Povilas Butkevicius made just one of two free throws with 56 seconds left for a 76-74 lead.

But Cisse showed his class again as he took centre stage by making another lay-up with 41 seconds to go and hitting a three-pointer with six seconds left to push France ahead.

Cisse then fouled Kurtinaitis with one second remaining, but Kurtinaitis made just one of the three shots from the line.

Benoit Gillet scored 10 of his 16 points in the first six minutes as France were ahead 24-22 after one period.

Mantas Simonavicius made five of his six three-pointers in the second quarter as Lithuania pulled ahead 46-35 at the break.

And they extended the lead to 62-50 after three periods before Cisse's fourth-quarter heroics.

Martynas Pocius, Kurtinaitis and Tautvydas Barstys all had 11 points in a losing cause.

Curti finished with 10 points for France as did Thibaut Blanque while Jason Bach had seven points and 10 rebounds.


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