France escaped the Classification Round with a 57-42 victory over Sweden in Group B of the OMNITEL U18 European Championship at the Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania on Saturday night.
The win lift France to a 1-2 record, enough for the 3rd spot in the group, while Sweden will seek their debut Division A win while trying to avoid relegation back to the lower division after one year.
|Viktor Gaddefors and Sweden had to endure another terrible night on offence|
Despite the big difference in the final buzzer, the game was much more intense.
France used a 9-0 run inside the last three minutes, to surrender their rival and extend the gap until the siren.
Until then the fans witnessed a tough battle between two teams fighting for survival, resulting a slow paced and harsh style of basketball.
Rudy Gobert enjoyed another great game with 14 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks against the shorter Swedish line-up. Mathis Keita added 11 points.
The losing side saw only Jonathan Person in double-digits with 12 points and suffered a bad shooting day connecting only 16 shots in 70 attempts to write a tournament low of 42 points.
The first minutes exampled the story of the game, as both sides found a difficulty to score, but Sweden was strong in the race with a 10-12 lead after one period.
The next 3 minutes saw only 2 points scored by each side, while Sweden failed to score in the closing 3:21 minutes of the 1st half, and entered the locker room down 23-18.
Person stepped up for Sweden but Gobert was too much to handle under the rim, and France remained on top.
Keita connected for 4 points in a row to create a 38-31, and added a big three pointer in the first bucket of the last quarter to push the gap to 10.
Person answered with the same coin and later added another combination of 3 points to make it just a 43-37 game with 3:12 to play, but Gobert with a tip-in and Thomas Ceci with a corner three pointer ignited the 9-0 run that put Sweden out of reach, and saved France from the last spot in the group.