by Dan Casey
|Damien Inglis led the way for France with 18 points and 9 rebounds|
Tough defense ruled this Group C encounter, with France able to hold off Ukraine's challenge in the fourth quarter for the victory.
French captain Damien Inglis led his team with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals, regularly showing no fear to attack the lane. Paul-Lou Duwiquet also contributed 16 points.
Likewise, Ukraine were thankful to their captain Igor Boyarkin for a team-high 19 points, as well as 7 rebounds and six steals. Vladlen Berezhnyy grabbed a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
French coach Tahar Assed-Liegeon said after the game, "We feared this team, we knew they did well last year in Division B. For future games, I am looking for us to be more calm."
Ukraine began the game well and, after a frenetic opening Ukraine pushed ahead and led 17-12 after the first quarter.
France were able to pull back to 25-25 and then held Ukraine scoreless for the next 6:57 as a 19-0 run around half-time broke the game open.
Ukraine returned the favour, keeping France without a bucket for 5:50 in the third quarter. A 10-0 run pulled the score to 40-50. The third quarter then ended with a steal and breakaway dunk from Yevgen Sakhniuk - the French had 0:01 left to react, but Thomas Ville found enough to time to catch and fling a running three-pointer in and make the score 54-44.
Three-pointers from Arthur Rozenfeld and Duwiquet in the final period kept the Ukrainians at bay and secured victory for France, who play Lithuania in their second game tomorrow.