The 2020 Olympic Men's Basketball Tournament, featuring 38 players from the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup playing key roles for their countries, continued Thursday with the semifinals. A gold-medal game will feature USA and France, while Slovenia and Australia will battle for bronze.
France wins drama vs Slovenia
In a thriller decided on the final play of the game, France edged Slovenia 90-89 to book a place in the gold medal game on Thursday. France's hero was Nicolas Batum who blocked an attempt by Valencia Basket's Klemen Prepelic with 2 seconds to go, sending France into big celebration and a return to the Olympic finals after 21 years. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul guard Nando De Colo shined with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Evan Fournier scored 23, Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot scored 15, while Rudy Gobert pulled down 16 rebounds in a victory. On the losing end, former EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic had only the third triple-double in Olympics history, collecting 16 points, 18 assists and 10 rebounds. Valencia's Mike Tobey paced Slovenia with 23 points and 8 rebounds, Prepelic finished with 17, and Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana guard Jaka Blazic scored 14.
De Colo was hot for France early on, but Slovenia jumped ahead behind Doncic, Tobey and Blazic. Slovenia led 17-25 in the first quarter but France quickly erased the deficit, and Thomas Heurtel of Real Madrid put France up 33-31 midway through the second. Prepelic scored 7 points before halftime to help Slovenia to a 42-44 halftime lead. De Colo dished 3 assists and scored 6 points in less than 4 minutes in the third to help France surge ahead, 60-52. De Colo added a triple, and Heurtel's layup made it 69-59 late in the third. Blazic hit one triple late in the third, and one to open the fourth quarter, before Tobey scored twice inside to tie it at 78-78 midway through the fourth. Luwawu's three-pointer gave France 90-85 entering the final minute, but Prepelic answered with a three of his own, making it 90-89. Slovenia made a defensive stand and had a possession to win, Prepelic found an open lane and drove to the basket for a layup, but Batum rose from behind to swat the shot and deliver a huge win for France.
USA uses 23-1 run to get past Australia
USA will compete for gold at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after beating Australia 97-78 in the first semifinal game on Thursday. Kevin Durant paced the winners with 23 points and 9 rebounds, while Devin Booker netted 20 point in a victory. Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton scored 11 apiece. Patty Mills has 15 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists for Australia, Dante Exum had 14 points, while former Zalgiris Kaunas and Partizan NIS Belgrade big man Jock Landale collected 11 points and 6 rebounds. Australia led throughout the first half, and held 26-41 midway through the second quarter. But USA finished the half on an 11-1 run, then scored the first 12 points of the third quarter for a 23-1 run that turned the game around. A 15-2 spurt to end the third quarter blew the game open as USA cruised to the finish line.