Bosnia Look For First EuroBasket Win Against France

17.09.2005

After losing their 10th EuroBasket game in a row on Friday, Bosnia-Herzegovina will step on the court to face France one day later hoping to bring an end to that streak.

With Greece looking in top form after their destruction of France on Friday, Bosnia-Herzegovina will be targeting the French as their must-win game of the group.

Coach Mensur Bajramovic knows his team must give everything it has in order to celebrate a first win at EuroBasket 2005. "I think we have better chances against France than Greece. The French team is a very athletic, strong and fast but not experienced enough in this competition".

Bosnia-Herzegovina put up a great fight against Slovenia on Friday, before finally succumbing  74-65. One thing the Bosnian team will have to improve is offensive rebounding, after collecting only 3 during Friday's game.

Jasmin Hukic is one of the main points producers on the Bosnian side, but yesterday he connected on only 1 shot out of 8 attempts from the field, and Bosnia-Herzegovina will need Hukic to step up tonight.

Center Elvir Ovcina had a good start with a strong showing in the paint and tallied a total of 11 points and 8 rebounds against Slovenia's NBA centers - Nesterovic and Brezec.

France spent the night hoping to recover in time from the big loss to Greece. With an NBA champion, Tony Parker, and two other NBA players on the roster, Mickael Pietrus and Boris Diaw, France can not allow another game where they score just 14 points in the first half and 50 for the game.

France struggled mostly from behind the three point line, making only 1/12 shots, and finished the game with 22 turnovers. They will be hoping to improve those numbers against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

After suffering such a big shock against Greece, it's time for the veterans to step up and lead the way. Captain Antoine Rigaudeau knows what tonight's game is all about: "We must forget the game against Greece and focus on Bosnia-Herzegovina. We must react. It's a do or die situation for us".

Cyril Julian, who had a decent game last night compared to his teammates (6 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes), is another veteran that will have a major role in extricating his team from a difficult situation. "We can't make any mistake against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Tonight we will have a meeting and talk about the game and regain motivation for tomorrow", he said after the loss to Greece.

The French media have already questioned the desire of the French players to give all their all on the court against Greece. Against Bosnia-Herzegovina, a side known for its fighting spirit, another passionless French performance could spell distaster for Les Bleus. 

A plus for the French team is that they will have history on their side. The two teams have met only twice so far, and France had the upper hand in both games, including a 98-76 win in the preliminary round of EuroBasket 2005.


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