France Break Slovenian Hearts

20 July 2012

U20 MEN

Turning point: Slovenia had a 32-28 lead after two quarters, but France came out of the locker rooms fired up and went on a huge 21-3 run to jump into a comfortable lead.

Game Hero: Rudy Gobert dominated on both ends of the court, scoring 16 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking three shots - all in impressive fashion.

Stats Don't Lie: Slovenia is second in the tournament in three-point shots made with an average of 7.3 made per game. However, against France, only 4-of-21 shots reached the target.

9. Léo Westermann (France)
Léo Westermann was a factor for France, especially in the second half of the game

France moved to a semi-final showdown with Spain after becoming the irst team to hand a loss to the U20 European Championship hosts Slovenia in the tournament (77-54).

The very beginning of the game didn't look promising for Slovenia, as the French center Rudy Gobert scored the first four points of the game, dominating inside the paint.

However, it didn't take long before the hosts got rolling too, as Klemen Prepelic, Gezim Morina and Marko Pajic all scored during the 9-0 run that brought Slovenia in front.

Prepelic made back-to-back baskets in the middle of the second quarter to push Slovenia's lead to 26-20, but Livio Jean-Charles answered with a powerful dunk, keeping France close.

Gobert finished the first half with a dunk after Leo Westermann's assist  to cut the French deficit to four at the end of the first half (32-28).

The first few moments of the second half were a copycat of the first instances of the game - with Westermann and Gobert connecting for yet another powerful slam, and jump start a 21-3 run, during which Westermann scored 11 points and dished out four assists.

Having turned a two-point deficit into a 54-40 lead by the end of the third period, France never looked in danger afterwards and held on to their comfortable lead until the end of the game.

"It was a good game and we played well. It's very satisfying to get a victory playing in front of a crowd like this," said France coach Jean-Aime Toupane.

Leo Westermann led all scorers on 21 points, while he dished out 7 assists, bouncing back from a relatively poor first half during which he made only 1-of-10 field goals.

Axel Toupane had 19 points for France, while Rudy Gobert collected 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Klemen Prepelic was the key man for Slovenia collecting 17 points and 5 rebounds even after twisting his ankle in the third quarter. Gezim Morina was the only other Slovenian player in double digits with 11 points.

France will face Spain in Saturday's semi-final, while Slovenia will play Germany in the Classification Round for 5th to 8th place.


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