|Hugo Invernizzi recorded 19 points as France denied the Czech Republic their first win|
France secured on Saturday a 79-62 win over the Czech Republic and top spot in Sportland U20 European Championship Group D thanks to a dominant start and an explosive three-minute stretch in the final frame.
Les Blues demoralised their rivals early on with a pressing defence that forced the Czech players to bad shot selection, while at the same time they passed the ball around on offence patiently and found the open man to shoot with high accuracy.
As a result, France led 19-7 at the end of the first quarter and this early cushion proved important througouht the following two periods.
The Czechs raised their effectiveness on offence but could only match that of France and the two sides in effect exchanged blows for almost 20 minutes, with the gap remaining practically unchanged.
The Czechs made their final push with the start of the final quarter, as Samuel Faifr hit a triple to spark a 7-0 run that saw them reducing the difference to six points, 56-50, with 8:02 left in the game.
France thought that was too close for comfort though and immediately killed off any thoughts of a Czech comeback.
Livio Jean-Charles split two free throws with 4:52 on the clock to cap off a 13-0 run that brought France ahead 69-50 and effectively sealed their win.
The forward however took a knock in the last play of the game and might have suffered an injury.
Hugo Invernizzi and Jean-Charles finished with 19 points each for France and Alexandre Chassang added 12 points and five rebounds.
The Czech Republic's Tomás Kyzlink led all scorers with a 22-point effort, while Martin Kríz picked up a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards in defeat.