France hoops players thump Venezuela

24th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

SENDAI, Japan, Aug 24, 2006 (AFP) - France secured a second-place finish in Group A at the World Basketball Championship Thursday, thumping Venezuela 81-61 behind a muscular performance by forward Laurent Pietrus.

SENDAI, Japan, Aug 24, 2006 (AFP) - France secured a second-place finish in Group A at the World Basketball Championship Thursday, thumping Venezuela 81-61 behind a muscular performance by forward Laurent Pietrus.

The French finished group play with a 3-2 record and will face Angola when the knockout round begins in Saitama Saturday.

Pietrus came out fired up following a disappointing showing in Wednesday's loss to Lebanon, scoring 13 first half points on spectacular drives to the basket on his way to a 19 point, eight rebound night.

The loss eliminated Venezuela, while third place in the group went to Nigeria followed by Serbia and Montenegro in fourth. Argentina wrapped up top spot with a 5-0 record.

France locked up its win due to its smothering defense, but coach Claude Bergeaud has been having difficulty replacing injured San Antonio point guard Tony Parker.

For a spell Thursday he had Phoenix Sun power forward Boris Diaw running the offense.

Diaw finished with 11 points, while center Frederic Weis contributed 10 for the winners.

France jumped out to a 22-8 lead with good defensive movement and a potent offence fueled by some spectacular Pietrus dunks.

Pietrus also played good defense, on one occasion coming from nowhere to block an Oscar Torres fast break attempt, while also leading France with 13 first half points and seven rebounds as Les Bleus went into the break up 41-31.

Venezuela was led by Alejandro Barrios with 15 ponts.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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