France keep three-peat dream alive; Israel, Germany and Croatia also reach Semi-Finals
CHEMNITZ (FIBA U20 European Championship 2018) – Israel, France, Germany and Croatia advanced to the FIBA U20 European Championship 2018 Semi-Finals after surviving Quarter-Finals drama in Chemnitz on Thursday evening.
A pair of Digue Diawara free-throws with barely any time on the clock gave France a nail-biting 60-59 victory over the Aleksa Radanov-led Serbia and kept the triple crown dream alive for Les Bleuets, who already have U16 and U18 gold.
Ivan Fevrier put on his scoring shoes for his game, finishing the contest with a game-high 20 points and 8 rebounds, while Bathiste Tchouaffe chipped in with 13 points and 6 rebounds.
"I was a little nervous (shooting the decisive free-throws), but I believe in my shot, so they went in," Diawara admitted feeling some pressure at the stripe with only one second left.
"It was a tough, tough game. We knew Serbia are a great team, maybe one of the top three of this European Championship. We stayed together for the whole game and won it in the end."
Aleksa Radanov starred in a losing effort for Serbia with 20 points, but they had the ticket to the Semi-Finals snatched out of their hands, as France closed out the game on an 8-0 run to get the win.
France will take on Israel for a spot in the Final after the Yovel Zoosman-led side eliminated Spain with a 98-75 scoreline in the first Quarter-Final of the day.
Zoosman paced the winners with 25 points, Michael Mor Brisker collected 22 points, while Gil Aharon Beni double-doubled with 18 points and 10 boards. Meanwhile, Joel Parra posted 24 points and 15 rebounds for Spain.
Elsewhere, Germany and Croatia continued their unbeaten runs in Chemnitz to book a date for the Semi-Finals with wins on Thursday. Kostja Mushidi rocked the Messe Chemnitz with 22 points, as the tournament hosts celebrated a 78-61 victory after pulling away in the second quarter.
"The fans helped us a lot," said Mushidi of the home crowd. "It was a good win. I think we're a good generation and I feel we can make it very far. The fans were there cheering for us. It's a big deal to play in our own country. We've got two more to go, but we're pretty confident."
Croatia continued to be the darlings of the FIBA U20 European Championship by knocking out the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017 runners-up Italy with a 79-68 victory.
Toni Perkovic collected 14 points and 5 rebounds in the win, while Kresimir Ljubicic contributed with 10 points and 9 boards. Tommaso Oxilia was the top scorer for Italy with 14 points.
In the Classification Games 9-16, Lithuania, Great Britain, Montenegro and Ukraine preserved Division A status for next year with bounce-back wins.
- Israel v France
- Germany v Croatia