After losing their FIBA opener to Brazil 63-65, France found themselves on the winning side of a narrow victory this morning, defeating Serbia 74-73. Once again, Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum anchored the team, playing all but six minutes of the game and scoring 11 points, but it was center Joffrey Lauvergne who carried France to victory with a team-high 19 points on a dominant 7-10 shooting.
Much like their last game, this one could have ended very differently for France. All tied up at 73, Serbian shooting guard (and Phoenix Suns first-round selection) Bogdan Bogdanovic lost control of the ball, sending it out of bounds with 4.8 seconds remaining. The aforementioned Lauvergne was then able to force his way to the free throw line with 1.1 second remaining, where he split the pair for France’s final one-point lead.
The French team should have an easier time with Egypt tomorrow, after Spain gave them a thorough trouncing today (91-54). Batum’s Trail Blazer teammate, Victor Claver, was able to score six points in eight minutes off the bench in said game, so do not be surprised if France is able to steamroll Egypt just as Spain did. Tip-off is at 1:00 p.m. PDT.
French Team Leaders
Joffrey Lauvergne: 19 pts, 6 rbs, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 2 TOs
Antoine Diot: 15 pts, 3 rbs, 2 ast, 2 stl, 3 TOs
Serbian Team Leaders
Miroslav Raduljica: 21 pts, 7 rbs, 1 stl, 3 TOs
Bogdan Bogdanovic: 12 pts, 3 rbs, 1 ast, 1 stl, 3 TOs