VILLEURBANNE (2010 FIBA World Championship) - Australia knocked off another quality opponent on Monday night with a late 67-66 triumph over France at the Villeurbanne International Tournament.
Just 24 hours after edging Brazil, Brett Brown’s Boomers got a Matt Nielsen basket with just three seconds remaining to take a one-point lead.
After a timeout by France coach Vincent Collet, Les Bleus inbounded the ball and got it into the hands of an open Nicolas Batum behind the three-point line but the Portland Trail Blazer missed as Australia edged a close encounter.
Australia had used a sterling defensive effort to top Brazil, last year’s FIBA Americas Championship winners, on Sunday and it was more of the same against the French.
“It was the same sort of recipe that got us the win against Brazil last night,” Brown said.
“We held France to 31 second-half points, and have been trying to focus on producing quality defensive periods, and I thought our third and fourth quarter effort on defense was excellent.
“I look forward to our offense catching up with our defense, because at the moment, our defense is a long way ahead.
“But that’s a good problem to have.”
France will know they are capable of beating most teams at the FIBA World Championship, but they need improvement in certain areas.
On Monday, it was free-throw shooting.
Collet’s team made just 11 of 20 on the game compared to five of seven for the Boomers.
A missed free-throw proved very costly for France at the end.
Boris Diaw went to the line with 13 seconds to go and made just one of two for a 67-66 French advantage.
After an Australian timeout, France’s Florent Pietrus almost came up with a steal but in a scramble, Nielsen came up with the ball and scored the go-ahead basket.
Australia’s offense is out of sync, but Pat Mills did give the Boomers a lift by drilling four of his six three-balls en route to a game-high 18 points.
France lost despite outrebounding Australia 39-27.
On Tuesday night, the Boomers will take on the Ivory Coast in their last warm-up game for the FIBA World Championship while France will meet Brazil.