Frances beat Italy in overtime yesterday, 93-85, to reach the semi-finals of the FIBA EuroBasket 2022. France became only the second team to have multiple elimination games going to overtime in a single EuroBasket tournament – Turkey also two games in 2001.
The spirited Italian team was looking for another upset after shocking Serbia in the Round of 16, but France proved to have nerves of steel.
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Turning Point: France started hot from the outside and used three-pointers to take a 10-point lead in the first quarter, leading 27-20 after 10 minutes. The cushion grew to 11 points in the second frame, and the score was 38-31 at the break. France still was ahead by 10 points in the third, only to see the Italians mount a 19-3 run spanning the final two quarters to take a 64-56 lead. France edged closer and closer and trailed by two points when Italy’s Simone Fontecchio missed two free throws with 16.3 seconds left. Thomas Heurtel raced down to knot the game at 77-77 and force overtime. France scored more efficiently in the extra session to pull off the win.
TCL Player of the Game: France had a number of heroes, but Thomas Heurtel took home the honors with 20 points and eight assists. He now has a total of 84 assists in the EuroBasket, the third most of any French player in the competition. Tony Parker leads the list with 228; Boris Diaw is second with 190.