After loss to Montenegro, their first in this qualifying phase, the Blues start in earnest against Hungary. The duo Andrew Albicy – Vincent Poirier establishes its connection well and France seems to impose its physical superiority from the start, with an “alley-oop” then a dunk from the pivot of Real Madrid, and a “layup” then a 3-pts at the tricolor leader buzzer.
But this first quarter, and more generally this first half, proved to be very laborious, like this lost ball on a throw-in from Terry Tarpey. Without forgetting this “layup” completely harvested by Théo Maledon, who confused speed and precipitation. Above all, with their 9 ball losses and their 3/6 in free throws which reminds them of bad memories, the Blues can do much better.
The French team is certainly in front at the break, with a 15-11 in the first act then a 24-14 in the second, for a +14 at half-time (39-25), but it is still far from convincing…
A scathing 29-2 after the break!
And it will be anything but the case in the third quarter. Probably shaken at half-time by their coach, Vincent Collet’s players clearly raised their tone in defense, as soon as they returned from the locker room. It’s not very complicated: the Hungarians will be muzzled during the first five minutes!
Meanwhile, Théo Maledon dynamited the tricolor game with the help of Amath M’Baye and Mam Jaiteh in the racket. France inflict a 15-0, which turns into a 29-2 over the period. From +14, the gap thus increases to +39 ten minutes from the end. Hungary has imploded!
The last quarter is therefore synonymous with a life-size squad review for the tricolor troop, with Petr Cornelie who treats us to an inverted “alley-oop” or Théo Maledon who continues to impress everyone (he will finish the game as the best French scorer, with 15 points).
If it struggled to take shape in the first half, because of a rough game, the reaction of the Blues was particularly dazzling in the second half, especially in the third quarter. With an Amath M’Baye (10 points, 5 rebounds) and a Mam Jaiteh (13 points, 7 rebounds) solid under the panels, France ended up winning quite clearly (81-40).
The Blues thus finish at the top of Group E, with five victories in six games.
The stats of the French team
Photo credit: FIBA.com