France edge Lithuania for 3rd place at FIBA World Cup

Sept 13, 2:23 PM

In a third place game that featured the emotion and competition of a championship contest, France used a big fourth quarter to narrowly defeat Lithuania, 95-93.

The French team trailed by seven after three quarters and had trouble containing Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas, who finished with 25 points and nine rebounds in the loss, but Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum starred in the decisive final frame.

Valanciunas hit eight of his first 10 field goal attempts, but back-to-back close-range misses with about a minute to go proved costly, as Diaw converted a couple of acrobatic layups at the other end to give France the lead for good.

The game became a free throw shooting contest from there, but France converted 11 of their 14 attempts in the final 30 seconds to ice the game and take home bronze at the FIBA World Cup a year after winning Eurobasket.

Diaw finished with 15 points, four assists, two rebounds and a block, while Batum led the way with a game-high 27 points to go with three rebounds, three steals and an assist.

France's third-place finish, which included upsetting a much more talented Spanish team in the quarterfinals, is all the more impressive considering they were without the services of Tony Parker and Joakim Noah.

Lithuania was looking to win bronze at the event for the second straight tournament, having finished third in Turkey four years ago.

The United States will take on Serbia Sunday in the gold medal match.

Feature photo courtesy of Getty/PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU