Rio de Janeiro, Aug 15: The US won the second consecutive game by a slim margin, beating France 100-97 for a 5-0 record in the preliminary round of the men’s basketball tournament at the Rio Olympics. Without Tony Parker, France clawed back from 15-point deficit to close it by three points on a beat-the-buzzer three-pointer from Antoine Diot on Sunday, reports Xinhua. Trailing 80-65 with 1:25 to go in the third quarter, Michael Gelabale capped a 14-3 run for France with a fast-break four minutes into the fourth to make it 83-79. The United States, which edged off Serbia 94-91 on Friday, still held a 100-90 lead with 1:25 to go, but France scored the last seven points of the match. Clay Thompson led the United States with 30 points as he poured in seven 3-pointers, 5 in the third quarter.
The Americans, however, were beaten on board by 35-29, and had only 11 second-chance points. Thomas Heurtel and Nando de Colo led France with 18 points each. French coach Vincent Collet said Parker was resting, but teammate Joffrey Lauvergne said the San Antonio Spurs guard had minor injury on his ankle. “It’s important that we closed it, which means we can beat Team USA. It also proves we are close to Serbia and Australia, who also lost to the US by points,” Lauvergne said.(ALSO READ: 2016 Rio Olympics Medal Tally: No medal for India yet, USA on top with 60 medals)
Australia proved to be solid medal contenders as they overwhelmed Venezuela 81-56 to finish second in the group. Venezuela missed 15 shot attempts in the first 9:34 minutes when they scored only two points until Gregory Vargas made two consecutive field goals for a 16-6 trailing. The Americas Championship winners tried to keep their top 8 hope alive, but were beaten up on the board by 45-25 when Australia scored 21 second-chance points. Chris Goulding led Australia with 22 points.