In the second consecutive game, the bench was a huge factor for ‘Les Bleus’ as the French national basketball team defeated the Turkish national basketball team, 75-63, to advance to the Finals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
This time, Thomas Huertel led the second unit charge in the fourth quarter as the backup point guard scored 12 points in the period for ‘Les Bleus’ who will now be facing Canada in the final game for a spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The French bench outscored the Turks’ 42-18.
Despite being down big early, France recovered and managed to pull away in the third period via a 10-0 run capped by a Joffrey Lauvergne layup to push the lead, 47-33, at the 5:59 mark. The Turks managed to cut the lead to eight points, 71-63, with 1:35 left in the game but it would prove to be too late.
“We didn’t start the game the right way. We give credit to the Turkish team,” said France team captain Boris Diaw.
“We’re happy that we came back in this game, that everybody was a part of it, that all the guys did their job, that young guys came in and really helped us they gave us a big lift for us to be able to win this game. I’m very happy to see that.” Diaw said on the high production from their bench.
Huertel finished with 17 points and four assists as he led ‘Les Bleus’ along with Nando de Colo who chipped in 13 points, three rebounds and three assists. Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum finally suited up for the Frenchmen for the first time in the tournament but chipped in only three points on three shots in 20 minutes.
New Orleans Pelicans center Omer Asik led the Turks with 19 points and five rebounds.
France: Huertel 17, De Colo 13, Lauvergne 11, Diot 10, Gelabale 5, Pietrus 4,Diaw 4, Tillie 4, Batum 3, Parker 2, Moerman 2, Kahudi 0.
Turkey: Asik 19, Erden 11, Muhammed 11, Osman 7, Batuk 5, Arslan 4, Kormaz 3, Mahmutoglu 2, Guler 1, Geyik 0, Sipahi 0.