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2023 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup: France Makes History Defeating USA For The First Time

France U19 posing for the team photo after defeating USA in the 2023 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup
[Credit: FIBA]

DEBRECEN, Hungary – Amidst great anticipation and excitement, France and the USA squared off in the first semi-final at the Fonix Arena. France secured their place in the game by defeating Serbia in the quarter-finals, while the USA earned their spot in the final four by prevailing over Japan.

The history between these two teams in the FIBA U19 World Cup has favored the USA, as they had won all six previous matchups, including the thrilling 2021 Championship game with a narrow victory of 83-81.

The first quarter saw both teams trading blows early on, with Tre Johnson of the USA hitting back-to-back threes. Zacharie Perrin of France showcased his dunking prowess with three powerful slams, while Dam Sarr displayed finesse with a beautiful spin move layup. The game remained highly competitive, and Dylan Harper, the top-ranked player in the class of 2024, made a tough and-1 layup to keep France within striking distance. Fischer of France ended the quarter with an impressive chase-down block, tying the game at 23-23.

The second quarter continued the intense battle, with Fischer making another highlight-reel block for France. Both teams refused to back down, resulting in a close contest. France managed to build a 6-point lead at one stage, but the USA’s Bosswell made key plays on both ends of the court, including a steal at half-court and a midrange shot to give his team a 1-point lead. Johnson added an acrobatic layup to extend the USA’s advantage to 3 points heading into halftime, with the score at 41-44. Johnson led the USA with 11 points at the half.

The third quarter witnessed a back-and-forth affair, with the lead changing hands multiple times. France held a lead of as much as 6 points, but Harper of the USA showcased his athleticism with a fast break dunk. France ended the third quarter with a 70-66 lead over the USA.

The fourth quarter proved to be a showcase of Dylan Harper’s skills on the world stage, as he stepped up and made big plays for the USA. Melvin Ajinca of France provided a memorable moment with a monstrous poster dunk and drew a foul to give France a 3-point lead with under 3 minutes remaining. The game remained closely contested until the final moments, but France emerged victorious with a final score of 89-86.

Zacharie Perrin led France in scoring with 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Melvin Ajinca contributed 17 points. Mark Armstrong led the USA with 17 points.

With this hard-fought victory, France advanced to the final of the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup where they will face the winners of Spain and Turkey.

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