San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as France rallied to beat Greece 64-56 Thursday and set up a semifinal match against Russia at the 2011 EuroBasket Championship.
France started the game slow, scoring just 14 points in the opening quarter and found themselves trailing Greece, 27-31 after the first half of play.
The slow pace and low scoring trend continued in the third quarter as the Greeks held on to a 43-40 lead going into the fourth quarter.
However, Parker scored four straight points to cap an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to give France a five-point lead and never looked back.
Ioannis Bourousis kept Greece in the game until Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers made two straight baskets with a block in between to give France a six-point lead with a little more than a minute to go.
Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah had a key steal late in the game to send Team France into the semifinal round.
The French nationals outscored Greece 24-13 in the final period.
Parker led France with 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals, Spurs draftee Nando De Colo finished with 16 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block shot, while and Batum added 15 points for the French team.
Bourousis had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Greece.
Meanwhile, Spurs’ affiliate Erazem Lorbek and Slovenia loss a tough game against host Lithuania 80-77 in the earlier game and finished outside of the top six spot in EuroBasket tournament.
Lorbek led Slovenia with 16 points, five rebounds and one assist in 31 minutes of action.
Parker and Team France will meet Andrei Kirilenko and Team Russia in their semifinal match tomorrow at 21:00 (GMT +3) in Kaunas.
The two finalists of the tournament will clinch spots at the 2012 London Olympics.
The next four teams will go to an additional qualifying tournament next year, with three advancing to the London Games.