Australia outlast France in thrilling match-up

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Mitch Creek (1st L) of Australia competes during the group L match between France and Australia at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, Sept. 9, 2019. (Xinhua/Han Yuqing)

With five players scoring over 20, both teams put a great offensive display as Australia squeezed out France 100-98 to conclude their Group L journey at FIBA Basketball World Cup on Monday.

Patty Mills of Australia scored 30 points, shooting 10 of 18. Evan Fournier posted a match-leading 31 points for France but could not save his team.

Nando De Colo of France made two weighty bank shots to tie the game with 5 seconds remaining.

Australia' Matthew Dellavedova drew a foul and made one free throw, letting the game still unpredictable. But the French turned sour and made their inbounds pass a turnover.

"We made couple of mistakes in the end and it's enough to lose the game," said Vincent Collet, head coach of France.

Both teams put on a tense and catchy first quarter as they scored smoothly with jump shots. Though Australia displayed their usual passing skills, they could hardly attack the rim with French center Rudy Gobert standing inside.

France led by three points to start the second quarter and continued their balanced attack, with Utah Jazz's star Gobert rejecting their opponents' dunks and Evan Fournier firing outside. Patty Mills stood out for Australia, scoring consecutive points to tie the game at halftime.

Fournier, the go-to-guy for France in their match against Lithuania, maintained his mojo to lead the French side. He dismantled Australia's defense and shot 10 out of 18, helping his team lead four points to enter the final period.

The boomers blitzed their opponents in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. The French unleashed their scoring power to make the final minutes a head-on confrontation but could not hang on to the end.

"We really focused on the defensive end. When we are good at defense, it can help our offense rolling and when we play like that, we know we can beat everyone," said Australia's Aron Baynes. Enditem

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