After leading by 17 points after three quarters on Saturday morning in London, it seemed that France was well on their way to an easy victory over Tunisia in the 2012 London Olympics.
Everything was going right for the French, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (22 points) had a huge third quarter to boost Les Bleus with a huge lead, but then the fourth quarter came and so did an explosion offensively from Tunisia, as they outscored France 26-13 in a close comeback, but Spurs rookie-to-be Nando De Colo helped France hold off Tunisia with six points in the final quarter.
Les Bleus earned the win 73-69, here’s the rundown.
First quarter: France (FRA) 20, Tunisia (TUN) 15
Player of the quarter (FRA): Parker, Nicolas Batum – Parker came out aggressive in the first quarter with five points, as he began to attack the paint from the get-go. Batum (19 points) had seven points, mainly off of passes from his teammates in the open court.
Player of the quarter (TUN): Macram Ben Romdhane – Ben Romdhane (17 points) had six points to lead Tunisia after the first quarter. He displayed his ability to attack the basket effectively, as he’s done thus far in these Olympics.
Spurs spotlight: De Colo had a nice assist to Batum in the open court in the first, while Boris Diaw didn’t take a shot.
Second quarter: FRA 35, TUN 27
Player of the quarter (FRA): Parker – While Parker was on the bench for half of the second quarter, Tunisia clamped down on defense and was holding France from scoring. Once Parker came in to end the quarter, he immediately had an impact in helping France score the last six points of the quarter, two of those his own baskets, a bank jump shot and tear drop, the other an assist to Kevin Seraphin (10 points).
Player of the quarter (TUN): Radhouane Slimane, Ben Romdhane – Ben Romdhane scored five more points in the second quarter, none more impressive than an and-1 possession where he blocked Seraphin and took the ball coast-to-coast for a layup and foul. Slimane helped Tunisia with nine points by halftime.
Spurs spotlight: Diaw again didn’t take a shot in the second quarter, while De Colo missed his only shot but collected his second assist of the game to Yakhouba Diawara with a behind-the-back pass.
Third quarter: FRA 60, TUN 43
Player of the quarter (FRA): Parker – As Parker exploded in the third quarter with 13 points of his own, so did the French lead as they led by as much as 21. Parker was scoring from anywhere he wanted; one particular sequence was an 8-0 run he put together by himself by draining back-to-back 3-pointers, and then getting a steal for a layup. By the end of the third quarter, Parker was shooting 9-of-12 from the field and had scored all of his 22 points.
Spurs spotlight: De Colo didn’t play much in the third, while Diaw was up to five assists at the end of the quarter. Diaw had yet to take a shot in the game, but was involved in a magnificent passing sequence. Parker threw a no-look pass to Diaw, who then bounce-passed to Batum for a dunk.
Fourth quarter: FRA 73, TUN 69
Player of the quarter (FRA): De Colo – Despite turning the ball over twice in the quarter, De Colo was France’s closing man as he scored all six of his points in the final quarter, including the last two for France with free throws. But his real play was an offensive rebound he secured after a Parker 3-point miss and Tunisia down just five points.
Player of the quarter (TUN): Mohamed Hadidane, Tunisia offense/defense – Hadidane (20 points) was key in the comeback for Tunisia, especially his shooting from the outside. Tunisia’s offense and defense was the story in that final quarter. They were down 17 points to begin the final quarter, but they outscored France 26-13 in the final period.
Spurs spotlight: Parker took just one shot in the final quarter, as he played the last five minutes, but was involved in some passes to his teammates. Diaw ended up taking zero shots in roughly 31 minutes of action.
With the victory, France moves to 3-1 in the Preliminary round meaning they’re almost a lock to finish second behind the United States in Group A’s bracket. France has one game left in the Prelim round, as they’ll face Nigeria on Monday.