Hosts Germany withstood the high expectations on the opening night of the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 and fended off France with a crucial 76-63 victory in Group B.
An emotional evening in front of a sell-out crowd of 18,017 spectators started with the German Basketball Federation retiring the number 14 jersey of Dirk Nowitzki. A trio of players with strong connections to Berlin ensured that the country’s inspirational hero would not have his night soured.
Turning point: Germany led by nine points in the second quarter, but France came back and took the lead early in the third quarter. Spurred on by the crowd, Germany poured it on with a 19-4 run to take control of the game with a 57-43 cushion. France did not get closer than nine points the rest of the way.
TCL Player of the Game: Maodo Lo was named TCL Player of the Game as he collected 13 points, five assists, and two steals without turning the ball once. But Lo wasn’t the only ALBA Berlin player who helped carry Germany to victory as his teammate Johannes Thiemann had 14 points and six rebounds while Berlin native and former team captain Niels Giffey added 13 points.
Stats Don’t Lie: Germany committed only nine turnovers and made all their free throws to go with 58 percent on two-pointers. Germany also showed their depth as their bench out-scored France’s reserves 48-27.
Bottom Line: Germany heads into the rest day with the momentum of starting the tournament on a high note against a formidable opponent, and Gordie Herbert’s team will look to make it 2-0 on Saturday against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Things do not get much easier for France as Vincent Collet’s group will take on a Lithuania team that is also 0-1 after they lost a battle to Slovenia.