Fournier, France Fall to Argentina in World Cup Semifinals

France, coming off an historic win over the U.S., had no answer for Argentina’s swarming defense and crisp ball movement in Friday’s 80-66 loss in the semifinals of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier and the New York Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina led France, which was outscored in every quarter, with 16 points apiece, while Nando de Colo chipped in with 11 points.

39-year-old Luis Scola, who played in the NBA for 10 years with five different teams, posted 28 points, making eight of his 17 shot attempts, three of his four 3-point tries and nine of his 10 free throws. Gabriel Deck finished with 13 points for the Argentinians, while Facundo Campazzo tallied 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

The Argentinians, who limited the French to 39 percent shooting from the floor and 23 percent from beyond the arc, went on an 8-0 run after a Mathias Lessort dunk gave the French a short-lived one-point lead early in the second quarter.

France had plenty of chances to cut into its deficit, but were unable to capitalize at the free throw line, where it made just 13 of its 25 attempts. Fournier, who also struggled from 3-point distance (1-of-6), missed four foul shots, while Rudy Gobert, a non-factor in this contest after dominating the U.S. in the quarterfinals, missed three of his four tries.

France will now look to claim the bronze for the second straight FIBA World Cup. To do that, it will have to defeat Australia, a team it lost to in a thriller in the second round of this tournament. Australia fell to Spain in double overtime in the other semifinal matchup.

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