Evan Fournier, France Beat Australia 67-59 in 2019 FIBA World Cup 3rd-Place Game

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2019

Matthew Dellavedova of Australia and Rudy Gobert of France battle the ball during their third placing match for the FIBA Basketball World Cup at the Cadillac Arena in Beijing, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

France completed a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Australia 67-59 in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup third-place game. Evan Fournier scored 16 points, while Nando de Colo finished with 19 points and three assists.

The Boomers took an early lead and steadily built their advantage to double digits, but a 16-3 run in the third quarter brought Les Bleus right back in it. They took the lead early in the final quarter and closed out the contest in style.

The third-placed match turned into a defensive, hard-fought battle early. Both teams struggled to put up points, with France in particular missing far too many looks. Les Bleus shot just 25 percent from the floor in the first half, making eight of 32 shots.

The Boomers opened with a 13-6 run, doing most of their damage with movement. Patty Mills proved a handful:

Australia didn't score any points on the fast break in the first half, however, despite forcing eight turnovers.

Both team struggled to protect the ball in a feisty affair, as sports writer Olgun Uluc highlighted:

Australia had a five-point lead at the end of the first quarter and a nine-point lead at the half. The score was just 30-21, and Les Bleus were saved by their bench, which accounted for 11 of their points.

Fournier had eight points in the half, while Joe Ingles led the Boomers with 12.

Australia continued to dominate early in the third quarter, building their lead up to double digits with strong play inside and several trips to the foul line.

Les Bleus improved as the quarter wore on, and led by Fournier and Nicolas Batum, they started to shrink the deficit. A De Colo layup and Fournier floater cut the lead to just four points, and after a Vincent Poirier dunk, the Boomers finally called a much-needed time out.

Their lead was back up to four points at the start of the final quarter, but France overtook them inside the first minute.

The final quarter turned into a spectacular back-and-forth affair, with Les Bleus in front for the bulk of the time but never pulling away until the final two minutes. Sports writer Adam Peacock was not happy with how the game played out:

A big three from Andrew Albicy with just over a minute left pushed their lead to seven points, all but securing the win. Mills hit back with a three of his own, but France were never troubled again.

Ingles had 17 points in the losing effort, while Mills scored 15. Australia shot just 24 percent from beyond the arc and turned over the ball 19 times.

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