France ended Spain’s reign as European basketball champion Friday with a 75-72 overtime victory behind 32 points from Tony Parker and set up a final against Lithuania.
Two-time defending champion Spain led by 14 points at halftime, but Parker led France’s comeback after the break. His 3-pointer with 2 minutes left gave France its first lead of the second half at 64-63.
“We wanted to be aggressive, but until halftime we weren’t really playing,” France coach Vincent Collet said. “We talked about it during the break and we came back very different. They couldn’t score for five minutes in the third and even when they started hitting shots again, our spirit stayed the same.”
Parker had a chance to put France ahead in regulation with the score tied at 65-65, but his drive to the basket was blocked by Rudy Fernandez with 11 seconds left. Jose Calderon then missed a 3-point attempt at the other end.
In overtime, Parker and Antoine Diot scored France’s last eight points from the free-throw line to keep France in front. Marc Gasol missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer after Rodriguez had missed a previous attempt to tie it.
Reported by Nesha Starcevic of the Associated Press
Spain looked home and dry at the interval. France had missed their first 10 attempts from three-point range while Parker scored 14 of his team’s 20 first-half points as his colleagues appeared overawed by the occasion.
The tide turned after the break as France hit nine of the next 10 shots from behind the arc with the unstoppable Parker producing blistering lay-ups, lethal perimeter shots and defense-splitting passing having also racked up six rebounds.
Reported by Reuters