France team bounced back after half-time to knock down Australia 67-59 and achieve a World Cup bronze on Sunday, and extend the Boomers’ long wait for a major medal.
Turkish-based guard Nando De Colo successfully led all scorers with 19 points for France and Nicolas Batum had nine points with six assists, three rebounds and three steals.
France defeated reigning two-time holders the United States in the quarter-finals, but unexpectedly lost to Argentina.
French coach Vincent Collet commends his team’s never give up qualities, saying, “For us it’s something very, very special and important we did it after a very difficult first half. Many teams could have given up, even easy shots we were missing in the first half, he said.
“We started to move the ball better in the second half and that’s why we won this game.”
The game wasn’t easy on Australia, who also led for long periods in their semi-final match against Spain before being hauled back in a double-overtime lost.
This is still a good finish for the Boomers, who have never gone beyond the quarter-finals at 11 World Cups in the past, though they are yet to claim a medal at the worlds or Olympics competition.
During the Rio 2016 Olympics game, the Boomers were also pushed out by Spain in the bronze-medal match. They led 30-21 at half-time in Beijing China against France with the Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles playing a starring position.
Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier spearheaded a third-quarter French revival by reducing Australia’s lead to only two points with 1:31 remaining in the quarter.
French, bronze medalists at the previous World Cup, were in the ascendancy and held the lead 47-46 with two free throws by De Colo at the start of the fourth quarter.
While it was remaining two minutes only, the comeback was almost in the bag, France led 60-56, before bringing home their advantage.
The French side dominated the fourth quarter 25-13 as Australia’s World Cup hope ended.
Spain vs Argentina in the World Cup final later Sunday.