France outlast Cote d'Ivoire to close disappointing campaign
JAKARTA (Indonesia) - France finished what was a disappointing FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 campaign with a tight 87-77 victory against Cote d'Ivoire.
Turning point: France started the second half off with a 10-0 run thanks to 5 points and 2 assists by Nando de Colo, giving them a 9-point edge. However, Solo Diabete had something else in mind as the Elephants recovered to make things entertaining in the fourth quarter. Nicolas Batum, Isaia Cordiner and Rudy Gobert took turns scoring in the paint to give France a necessary lead at 78-75. It was once again de Colo who made another timely shot to give France an eight point edge with one minute and 23 seconds remaining.
TCL Player of the Game: Isaia Cordinier made most of his starting role with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. France were a notable +28 with him on the court.
Rudy Gobert boosted his tally late on to finish with 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Solo Diabate recorded Cote d'Ivoire's second double-double in this World Cup with 13 points and 11 assists, many of them in the close events of the second half.
Stats don't lie: France's size gave them the easy points that their opponents just couldn't muster when things mattered the most. Les Bleus accumulated 38 points in the paint to Cote d'Ivoire's 26.
Bottom line: France only had their pride on the line, yet ended up winning Group P in the process as well. They will look for redemption in Paris 2024.
Cote d'Ivoire would have known very well that South Sudan had already tied up the direct ticket to the Olympics, yet still could have hoped to get a very valuable spot in the Olympic Qualifiers with a win in this game. We look forward to seeing them in other FIBA events.
They said: "I don't know whether you enjoyed the game as I did. My guys gave everything they had today. I think we can be proud of the basketball we showed today. We can talk about the reasons why we lost, but in the end I'm really happy that we showed really good basketball in a couple of games. In the end, like Max said, we were missing focus in the last couple of minutes. The rest of the game was very satisfying for me." - Dejan Prokic, Cote d'Ivoire head coach
"We showed some great things on the court. We played tough against big opponents like Brazil and France, but we still have that defeat against Lebanon on our minds. Maybe it cost us the Olympic Qualifiers. This was my first World Cup and it's a transition for our country. We have young and old players. I think we showed some good things and are going to learn from this." - Maxence Dadiet, Cote d'Ivoire
"It was a tough last game. I think we did better against Iran. Today it was a little bit difficult to start defensively. First half was weak on defense, we let them drive and attack the basket when we knew it was their main strength. We finally started the third quarter well, went down again and finished the right way to win the game." - Vincent Collet, France head coach
"It might be a bit late now to fix the problem on defense. We have one more year until the Olympics to work on it. We have to look ourselves in the mirror and get back to our standards." - Isaia Cordinier, France