BERLIN (AP)Rudy Gobert scored 20 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and Olympic silver medalist France moved into the EuroBasket quarterfinals by holding off Turkey 87-86 in overtime on Saturday.
Gobert had a putback dunk with 2.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, then scored the first four points of overtime, and France never trailed in the extra session.
”Crazy game,” Gobert said.
Turkey had what seemed like full control of the game with 12.2 seconds left in regulation. It had the ball, up by two, was going to the foul line for two free throws and would keep possession of the ball after those shots because France had been whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul.
But Cedi Osman missed both shots, a scene reminiscent of when he did the same late in what became a one-point loss to the U.S. at the Basketball World Cup in 2019. France wound up forcing a turnover on the ensuing possession, and Gobert’s dunk tied the game.
”Really tough spot for us, but we got lucky, he missed both,” Gobert said. ”Then we were able to steal the out of bounds, get a bucket and get to overtime. We never stopped. We never stopped fighting. We always believed. Obviously, not our best game, but the thing I’m really proud of is the fact that we never gave up. A lot of teams would have given up in that position.”
Thomas Heurtel and Evan Fournier had 13 points apiece for France, which led by 16 midway through the second quarter.
But Turkey closed the third quarter on a 19-0 run, turning an 11-point deficit into a 57-49 lead going into the final 10 minutes of regulation. France missed 11 consecutive shots in that stretch.
Turkey had a chance to win on the final possession of overtime, but Furkan Korkmaz lost his dribble with about 2 seconds left and his team never got a shot off.
Bugrahan Tuncer scored 22 for Turkey, while Korkmaz added 18.
”I don’t know what to say, really,” Tuncer said. ”I’m so mad. I’m so sad. If I cannot find any nice words, I’m sorry about it. This is unacceptable.”
France will play the winner of Sunday’s Serbia-Italy game in the quarterfinals. That matchup is scheduled for Wednesday.
”Maybe it’s the worst emotional loss in my 26-year career,” Turkey coach Ergin Ataman said. ”Congratulations to France. I hope that they will continue on a good way in the quarterfinals. That’s all.”
SLOVENIA 88, BELGIUM 88
Luka Doncic scored 35 points and defending champion Slovenia used a 17-0 run in the fourth quarter to eliminate Belgium.
Doncic and Goran Dragic combined to score or be credited with assists on Slovenia’s first 40 points of the second half.
”Belgium was playing great basketball,” said Doncic, who is averaging 28 points in six tournament games so far – 39.3 per game in his last three contests. ”We knew this was going to be a hard game. They were fighting until the end. But in the end, I think we played a little better.”
Doncic had five rebounds, five assists and four steals for Slovenia, while Klemen Prepelic scored 13, Mike Tobey Finished with 12 and Dragic added 11.
Manu Lecomte scored 16 points and Pierre-Antoine Gillet had a 15-point, 10-rebound game for Belgium.
Slovenia got to the line 25 times, to only eight for Belgium.
”I’m listening for a lot of weeks now, the word `equality.’ But equality doesn’t exist in basketball,” Belgium coach Dario Gjergja said.
Next for Slovenia is a quarterfinal game Wednesday, against the winner of the Ukraine-Poland matchup. Those teams will play Sunday.
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