France shakes off Hezonja and Croatia in a winning start

2024-02-23T22:24:30+00:00 2024-02-23T23:14:34+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

23/Feb/24 22:24

In control most of the way, France overpowers Croatia behind better depth on the squad for head coach Vincent Collet

By Eurohoops Team/

Mario Hezonja amounting to a game-high 22 points in Brest Arena failed to budge France on Friday evening.

Les Bleus defeated Croatia, 73-61, in Gameday 1 of the final Qualification Round leading to the 2025 EuroBasket.

Paving the way with a team-high 15 points, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot tucked in 6/9 from the field, including 2/4 from three-point range pushing his country to 1-0 in Group E of the Qualifiers. His ten points in the third period kept France in a commanding position.

Packing 10 points in the second quarter, youngster Matthew Strazel finished with 12 points in debut with the senior national team. Guerschon Yabusele added 11 points. Mathias Lessort packing ten points, three rebounds, two assists, and one steals shared a team-high efficiency rating of 15 with TLC.

Minus four minutes early in the first quarter, the visitors trailed the rest of the way. Reducing a 15-point deficit to seven points with 1:40 on the clock, time remaining was not enough to build a genuine comeback bid.

Besides Hezonja, naturalized Jaleen Smith tallied 13 points and was the other double-digit scorer for the team coached by Josip Sesar in Brest.

Dealing with a disadvantage from the top of the Qualifiers, Croatia fell to 0-1, behind both France and Bosnia-Herzegovina in a race for two spots in the EuroBasket. Completing the four-team group, Cyprus received an automatic berth as one of the four hosts of the final stage of the international tournament.

Postgame press conference


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