For the second consecutive confrontation against Italy, after a snatch victory (78-77) after extra time, the Blues welcomed their transalpine neighbors on the side of Montpellier and there was no match (100-68).
The tricolor defense stifled Italy which finished at 68 points while France reached 100 points behind a good collective effort and five players at 10 points or more, including Elie Okobo at 18 points. The third match of the Blues attests to a good rise in power before facing Belgium in two days.
A serious departure
Vincent Collet keeps his now usual major five with Thomas Heurtel, Evan Fournier, Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, Guerschon Yabusele and Rudy Gobert. Despite a scare in the right ankle for the Knick on a missed 3-pointer, the Blues took their start to the game seriously.
A 10-4 puts them firmly in the lead with the Heurtel – Gobert duo in charge. Without Luigi Datome, Italy composes as it can, and Nicolo Melli sends the first banderillas. But, like a quick technical fault by Coach Pozzecco, France has already taken the lead, with a new percussion from Théo Maledon.
Elie Okobo and Vincent Poirier bring their punch off the bench and it’s 20-10 for the Blues! The first quarter is very clean with 11 points ahead and 7/12 on shots. All holders scored and the bench contributed 11 points. Everything rolls (25-14)!
Thomas Heurtel in Masters
Vincent Poirier drives the point home with a big dunk to start the second quarter but we feel a little relaxation. Achile Polonara and Tommasso Baldasso investigate from 3-pointers and force a time-out from Vincent Collet. The Blues react immediately with Rudy Gobert shining on both sides of the pitch.
But the Italians return to -6 only with Baldasso who continues to feed the mark. Impeccable in the first half with 10 points and 5 assists, Thomas Heurtel put an end to the black series of the tricolors. And that revives the affair with Yabusele and Fournier who conclude beautiful offensive movements behind the arc.
If Fontecchio scores an improbable 3-pointer at the buzzer, the gap is the same at the break as after the first quarter: +11 (51-40). At 7/9 from 3-pointers, the Blues are skilful, but we cannot say that they are playing clean, with 10 stray balls.
The Blues assert their domination
Although perfectible, the game of the French team largely meets expectations for this second round against Italy. Evan Fournier puts the cover of a step back and Rudy Gobert stings a ball and connects a dribble in the back to launch the counter-attack.
The Blues leave strong, on an 11-6 to start with a funny, and involuntary pass from the head by Gobert for Yabusele under the circle. The biggest gap is reached, despite the efforts of Gallinari or Mannion.
Fournier and Poirier give +20 to the Blues in demonstration at the end of the 3rd quarter. Poirier even crushes a dunk which symbolizes tricolor domination. With a 25-15 over the period, France sits its stranglehold before the last quarter (76-55).
Serious until the end
Not yet satisfied, Vincent Collet’s men maintained their defensive pressure in the last quarter and went 14-4 behind Okobo and Jaiteh, respectively from a distance and in the paint. The latter is paid a dunk on a caviar by Terry Tarpey and France unfolds completely.
The gap is in the thirties and the party is total in Montpellier, which already hosted Euro 2015, when Théo Maledon gives the basket which offers 100 points to the Blues. France double the lead against a disappointing Italy (100-68).
The Blues will have a day off before putting on the jersey again for a new preparation match against Belgium, still in Montpellier. Before the serious things and the match at Bercy against the Czech Republic, which will count for the qualifications for the next World Cup.