France Ride Fournier Performance To Beat Germany

29 July 2009

France pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat 71-59 in the Qualifying Round at the U18 European Championship Men 2009 in Metz, France.

The win meant that France improved to 3-2 to finish second in Group E and will face Russia in the quarter-final on Friday. With the defeat, Germany missed out on reaching the last eight.

Evan Fournier scored a game-high 29 points but, more important than his final tally, was the timing of his baskets.

"I just was able to get into a good rhythm early on and I gained in confidence. So I felt good taking those shots whenever I got them," he said afterwards.

"I think my team-mates saw that I was in a good mental state so they got me the ball and I just played the way I can."

And he will welcome the breakout performance after having had his struggles in the tournament.

"The coaches weren't too happy with the way I played at times in the last few games. They thought I was dribbling too much so I tried to do less of that."

As has been the case - and a problem - France ran up a big lead and saw it whittle away as Germany were within one, 51-50, early in the final quarter after Falko Theilig scored on a lay-up.

But Fournier hit back and when Neumann again cut the deficit to one, 53-52, it was Fournier who widened the gap when he made one of two free-throws.

He then started and finished France's 10-0 run that all but ended Germany's hopes. Fournier scored on a lay-up to start the spurt and capped it off with another basket inside before burying a three-pointer as France closed the door shut on Kay Blumel's team.

Early on, Danilo Barthel scored seven points to help Germany go up 14-6 lead midway through the first quarter.

But the hosts responded well, reeling off the last seven points of the period to trail by just one, 14-13.

And they carried that into the second quarter as Chrislain Cairo gave them their first lead, 15-14.

Germany edged back in front the next time down the court but Fournier scored nine quick points midway through the period to stretch France's advantage from 17-16 to 28-19 and France took a 35-27 lead at the half.

They extended that advantage in the third quarter, going back up by 10 on Nikola Stojiljkovic's fastbreak dunk.

Germany closed within 45-41 thanks to Harald Debelka's accurate outside shooting - he drilled three three-pointers in that period alone - and the inspiring play of Theilig.

France pulled away again courtesy of Fournier and then Cairo and Paschal played their parts to make it a 51-43 game.

Debelka hit the last of his long bombs with 25 seconds left in the third period as the French took a 51-46 advantage into the final frame.

Paschal had 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds while Cairo chipped in with 10 points.

Barthel had a team-high 15 points for Germany.


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