Spain, France to meet again in Euros semis
By Nesha Starcevic,AP
September 20, 2013, 12:21 am TWN
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- Spain and France will meet in the semifinals of the European basketball championships in a rematch of their gold medal game two years ago.
Spain won that final and is seeking to become the first team to win three straight European titles since Yugoslavia in the 1970s.
Two-time defending champion Spain took a big early lead and routed Serbia 90-60 in Wednesday's first quarterfinal.
Tony Parker then scored 27 points to lead France 72-62 past host Slovenia.
“We haven't done anything yet,” Parker said. “It's a big win for sure but our team has other goals. We want a medal and we still don't have it.”
Point guard Sergio Rodriguez scored 22 points and forward Rudy Fernandez went 4-for-4 from the 3-point range in adding 19 for Spain.
Spain has won gold or silver at every major competition since it captured the 2006 world title, except for the 2010 worlds when it finished sixth. The Spaniards won silver medals at the last two Olympics.
France went on a 10-0 run at the start of the third quarter and never looked behind again.
Slovenia cut the deficit to five when Domen Lorbek fired a 3-pointer at the buzzer of the third quarter and Lorbek made it a three-point game at the start of the fourth.
But Parker scored with jumper and Nando de Colo's layup restored his team's 10-point with just under six minutes remaining in the game.
“We all played good defense and we moved the ball well in the attack, we were able to put Tony in position,” de Colo said.
Goran Dragic, who finished with 18 points, made two free throws to leave his team seven behind and 1:21 on the clock.
Parker had two turnovers late in the game but he cut inside to score with a layup and made one of two free throws to make it a 10-point game again with 41 seconds remaining.
Spain led by as many as 40 points at one stage in the first of the quarterfinals and made 13 of 25 attempts from beyond the arc.
“It was our best game of the tournament so far,” Spain coach Juan Orenga said. “Our goal is to grow during the tournament and win the gold medal.”
Spain had struggled through the first two rounds, losing three of eight games. But it may have been saving its best for the really important games.
“We played aggressive, it was time to show everybody what we can do,” Spain point guard Ricky Rubio said.