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France stuns defending champ USA to advance in the semis

by Eugene Flores, September 11, 2019 9:22pm

France marked themselves a game to remember after dethroning the reigning two-time FIBA World Champions, the United States of America, 89-79, in their quarterfinals faceoff at the Dongguan Basketball Center.

Rudy Gobert put a block party in the pivotal moments of the decisive quarter to upset the US.

He finished with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks.

Down by five points in the fourth quarter France took the lead back with a 9-0 blast highlighted by an Evan Fournier layup and a Rudy Gober slam, 80-76. Frank Ntilikina put more pressure on the Americans with a trey, a six-point lead for France with less than two minutes left.

Kemba Walker scored on a banker to stop the bleeding but Gobert displayed his defensive prowess blocking a Donavan Mitchell's attempt before Nando de Colo sank both free throws for an 84-78.

Walker got fouled taking a three-pointer only to make one shot. Jaylen Brown was able to force a jump ball to retain their possession.

The US turned the ball over in the remaining possessions as they saw themselves in their worst FIBA World Cup finished since 2002.

Fournier led the scoring for France with 22 points as De Colo tallied 18 points. Ntiilikina added 11 points nothing bigger than his two treys in the fourth frame.

Mitchell had a game-high 29 points but failed to create in the end-game as well as Walker with only 10 points.

The win put France back in the semifinals as they try to beat their last World Cup finished, a bronze.

Mitchell was spectacular for the US in the first half with 15 points but the combination of Fournier and Gobert powered France to erect a seven-point advantage at the break.

France built their biggest advantage, a 10-point lead, off a Nicolas Batum four-point play

Mitchell then powered the USA back in contention after a layup and a one-handed jam, 60 all.

The USA reclaimed the lead off a Marcus Smart three-free throws before taking a 66-63 advantage heading to the final frame.

 

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