By Josh Cohen
Sept. 9, 2017
ORLANDO — Evan Fournier did everything he possibly could to try and prevent elimination in France’s Round of 16 game against Germany at EuroBasket 2017 on Saturday. He scored 18 of his 27 points in the final six-plus minutes and reeled off seven points in the last 27 seconds.
This remarkable scoring frenzy by the Orlando Magic swingman wasn’t enough, however. France’s hopes of reaching the semifinals for the fourth straight time in this competition was denied in an 84-81 loss.
France trailed by seven with 30 seconds remaining before Fournier’s flurry. It looked like the game was over before Fournier came up with a steal and then pulled up in transition and knocked down his third 3-pointer of the day with 12 seconds left.
Germany made three of four free throws, subsequently, and it prohibited Fournier from attempting a game-tying 3-pointer by running after him with the intent to foul him. Fournier, as a result, launched a pass down the floor to Nando de Colo, who stepped back behind the 3-point line but misfired at the buzzer.
Usually more composed in high-stake games, the French couldn’t preserve a double-digit advantage. They led by 11 in the second quarter.
Germany will play in the EuroBasket quarterfinals for the first time since 2007. The Germans won the title in this tournament in 1993 and were the runner-up in 2005.
Fournier eclipsed the 20-point mark three times throughout this year’s competition and averaged 15.8 points in six games.
Most figured France wouldn’t be as potent as it had been in recent international tournaments because of the absences of Tony Parker (retired from national team), Rudy Gobert and Nicolas Batum.
However, the future is bright for the French. Along with Fournier, de Colo and Thomas Heurtel, there are several young, up-and-coming prodigies in the program. That includes 2017 NBA Draft picks Frank Ntilikina, Mathias Lessort and Alpha Kaba.