Rudy Gobert may not be thought of as one the NBA’s clutch players, but it was his bucket late in the game that helped France survive in their first game of the Knockout Phase of EuroBasket 2022.
France led Turkey 49-38 during the third quarter before Turkey took over the game with a 19-0 run. Despite leading the majority of the game, it took some late heroics from Rudy Gobert for France to hold on. With 2.5 seconds left in regulation, Gobert tied the game with a putback dunk off of a missed floater from Evan Fournier.
RUDY GOBERT!!!#EuroBasket x #BringTheNoise
📺 https://t.co/XA74VljBO4 pic.twitter.com/CBTWuYNBt6
— #EuroBasket 2022 (@EuroBasket) September 10, 2022
France held on to win the game in overtime 87-86, thanks to a late 3-pointer from Fournier that put them up 86-83. Terry Tarpey’s steal with one second left gave them the win.
In regulation, Turkey was up two points with 12 seconds left with Cedi Osman at the free throw line. He missed both attempts, but Turkey came up with an offensive rebound. Fournier stole the ball from Bugrahan Tuncer, which led to Fournier’s missed floater and Gobert’s putback.
Along with the big play down the stretch, Gobert also led France with 20 points and 17 rebounds, which was by far his best game in EuroBasket this year. Gobert’s dominance down low helped France outscore Turkey 50-22 in the paint.
Gobert pointed out France’s resiliency down the stretch as a key piece to their victory.
“We just never stopped fighting,” Gobert said. “We always believed. It was obviously not our best game. But the thing I am really proud of is the fact that we never gave up. A lot of teams would have gave up in that position. They probably wouldn’t have tried to make the play and steal the ball. We didn’t, we kept fighting and we were rewarded for that.”
Fournier chipped in 13 points, six rebounds, and three assists in the win.
Tuncer led Turkey with a game-high 22 points, six 3-pointers, four assists, and three rebounds.
Osman didn’t show well for Turkey, finishing with just 11 points on 3-for-10 shooting. The other NBA player on Turkey’s roster, Alperen Sengun, had just eight points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. It was his first game not scoring in double figures during EuroBasket this year.
This isn’t the first disappointing loss for Turkey in recent years. In his postgame interview, Tuncer recalled losing to the United States in 2019 after being up two points late in the game before missing two free throws.
The victory sends France to the Quarter-Finals of EuroBasket 2022. They’ll await the winner of the Serbia-Italy matchup, which is at 12pm ET on Sunday, September 11th.
Serbia, a 1-seed in the tournament, is led by two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, who is averaging 19.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game in EuroBasket.
Italy is led by Simone Fontecchio, who signed with the Jazz earlier this summer. He’s averaging 19.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.