By Cindy Garcia-Bennett
Poland put on a brave fight but it wasn't enough as they lost 74-66 to France in the opening Group D match in Alicante.
The Poles trailed 61-55 early in the fourth quarter and had a chance to steal the momentum, but failed to beat the 24-second shot clock and turned the ball over.
Ronny Turiaf scored a jumper the next trip down the court to give France an eight point lead at 63-55.
"It was very important for me to come up strong in the fourth quarter," Turiaf said afterwards."I had missed some shots earlier in the game and I was a bit down.
"Fortunately the coach put me down low and I was able to get a couple of baskets that strengthened our lead."
Polish veteran Adam Wojcik had a game-high 19 points in the loss and shot eight of 10 from the floor (80%).
"We did our job which was to remain in the game for as long as possible," said the 37-year-old
Wojcik."We missed wide open shots and France kept their noses in front."
|Wojcik kept Poland|
close with 19 points
Tony Parker led France in scoring with 16 points but had a tough day shooting the ball, going five of 16 from the field (31%).
He had nine points at the break and Boris Diaw chipped in with eight while Polish veteran Adam Wojcick was keeping his team in the game with 11.
Les Bleus' biggest lead of the half was 22-12 on a Parker jump shot.
But Poland then reeled off eight unanswered points, capped off by a Andrzej Pluta jumper, to cut the deficit to just two,
Again, France threatened to build a big lead when they went up 33-26 on a Sanya Giffa three-pointer, but their opponents once again closed the gap trailing by just three, 33-30, at half time.
Wojcik's lay-up saw Poland jump in front 36-35 at the start of the third quarter but France soon regained the lead on Parker's three-point bomb.
Les Bleus then used a 6-0 surge at the end of the quarter to take a 60-53 advantage going into the final stanza.
France were 11 of 26 (42.3%) from three point-range, with seven different players connecting from long range. Poland were a poor four of 19 from (21%) outside the perimeter.