France was unfazed by a long break at halftime and used a big start to the second half for a comfortable 95-60 win at home over the Czech Republic in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers.
Spurred on by a sold-out crowd of 14,200 in the Parisian Accor Arena, Vincent Collet’s France team allowed just 18 points in the final 20 minutes in cruising to the blowout to stay on course for next summer’s spectacle.
Guerschon Yabusele and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot paced five French players in double figures with 16 points each, while Rudy Gobert picked up 14 points. Vojtech Hruban was Czech Republic’s leading scorer with 14 points.
Turning point: Despite playing without Tomas Satoransky, Jaromir Bohacik, and Vit Krejci, the Czech Republic had a solid first half and led by as many as 12 points midway through the second quarter. France fought back and had trimmed the margin to just four points at halftime. The game then had a lengthy suspension before the start of the second half due to a technical issue on one of the baskets – apparently following a big dunk by Gobert at the end of the first half. France was unfazed by the long wait and opened the second half with an 18-2 run to lead 56-44 midway through the third quarter.
Game hero: Gobert did it all for France as the NBA big man collected 14 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks in 19 minutes.
Stats don’t lie: France was too strong inside with Gobert and Yabusele, who helped the hosts to a 60-20 advantage in points in the paint. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic committed 25 turnovers and shot just 35.5 percent from the field.
Bottom line: France moved closer to reaching the FIBA World Cup 2023 with a 6-1 record in Group K, while the Czechs fell to 3-4. Ronen Ginzburg’s the Czech Republic faces a big second game in the window on Saturday at home versus Hungary. The French, for their part, head to the road and face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday.