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Boris DIAW (FRA)
5th place game of the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Saitama, Japan. France vs Turkey. 02.09.2006.
02/09/2006Game Report, France vs Turkey, 64-56, 5th PLACE GAME
SAITAMA (FIBA World Championship) - A five-point possession following an unsportsmanlike foul allowed France to beat Turkey 64-56 and capture fifth place at the FIBA World Championship.

Joseph Gomis made three free throws and Mickael Gelabale dunked home a missed jumper to give France a nine-point lead with 3:46 remaining in the game.

And that would prove enough despite France missing six foul shots in the final 2:20.

"We're fifth and that's the main thing that we'll remember," said France captain Boris Diaw, whose team finished 6-3 in the tournament with losses to Argentina, Lebanon and Greece.

"Other than the game against Lebanon where we really didn't do well, we lose to Greece who are in the finals and to Argentina who are playing for the bronze medal. So we don't have anything to feel sorry about."

Florent Pietrus led Claude Bergeaud's team with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Frederic Weis chipped in with 11 points and Laurent Foirest added 10 off the bench. Diaw fouled out with eight points, six rebounds, three assists but five turnovers.

Turkey had just a dismal shooting performance, hitting 24 percent from the field - 15 of 62.

Engin Atsur led all scorers with 15 points while Cenk Akyol added 10. Two nights after combining for 42 points in Turkey's over-time victory over Lithuania, Ermal Kurtoglu and Ender Arslan made just one of 15 shots in scoring only four points total.

"Our team wasn't so fresh to play against such a strong defense on the other side," said Bogdan Tanjevic, who had to play without injured Serkan Erdogan and Ibrahim Kutluay. "We're very proud to finish sixth in the world."

"The rest of the team played good basketball and tried to win. I believe all of us – team and management – will take the positives out of this tournament," Kutluay added.

"Turkish basketball has a good future in front of it. We improved a lot in this tournament, and our target is to take a medal in 2010."

Turkey will host the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

Despite scoring the first three points of the game, Turkey couldn't find any rhythm early on. And France were on target, opening a 20-7 lead after 10 minutes.

Foirest drained a three-pointer and followed that up with a jumper to increase the lead to 20 points - 31-11 - with 4:20 left in the first half.

Turkey however were able to hit seven of eight foul shots to trim the deficit to 35-20 at the interval. All told, the Turks shot a dismal 14 percent in the first half - making just four of 28 shots. Tanjevic's side also commited 13 turnovers without a single assist.

Coming out of the break, Weis' inside basket increased the lead to 41-23 with 8:41 remaining in the third.

But Turkey put together their only major spurt, going on a 17-3 run to close within 44-40 with two minutes to play in the quarter. Weis finally hit again for the French, who went 6:56 without a basket in missing four shots and commiting five turnovers.

Bergeaud's team however were still ahead 49-43 going into the fourth quarter.

Neither team seemed willing to take the game as Diaw and Weis each missed a pair of foul shots and Akyol was also off on two free throws. That left France ahead 51-43 before Kaya Peker drained a three-pointer with six minutes to play.

However Gomis answered right back with a three-point play and Weis' foul shot pushed the advantage back up to nine at 55-46.

Turkey put together another push with Atsur draining a three-pointer and Peker making a hook-shot to pull within four - 55-51.

But Peker then was whistled for an unsportmanlike foul with 4:07 remaining and Gomis made three of four foul shots. On the ensuing French possession, Gelabale dunked home Ronny Turiaf's missed jumper, once again giving Les Bleus a nine-point advantage.

The game was destined to be decided at the charity stripe.

Florent Pietrus and Turiaf each missed two foul shots while Ersan Ilyasova and Kurtoglu each buried a pair to cut the deficit to 60-55 with 1:18 to play.

But Pietrus atoned with two foul shots with 1:10 left only to see Gomis miss a pair with 49 seconds to play. Pietrus however drained two more with 26 seconds remaining to finish the scoring 64-56.

By David Hein, FIBA