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Spain rallies past France in men's basketball QFs

London, England (Sports Network) - Pau Gasol scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked two shots that helped Spain's fourth-quarter rally in a 66-59 win over France in the men's basketball quarterfinals.

Marc Gasol led Spain with 14 points and added eight rebounds, while Juan Carlos Navarro chipped in 12 points. The Spaniards held France to just six points in the fourth quarter and earned a semifinal meeting with Russia, which advanced earlier Wednesday with an 83-74 victory over Lithuania.

Tony Parker and Boris Diaw each scored 15 points for France, which had won four straight games after a loss to the United States in its Olympic opener. The French finished second to the Americans in Group A with their 4-1 mark, but couldn't hold a fourth-quarter advantage on Wednesday.

France led by as many as eight in the first half and held a 57-54 edge with just under seven minutes remaining in the contest, but went ice cold. The French missed their next 11 field goal tries and Spain took advantage with 12 straight points.

Serge Ibaka started the comeback with a bucket inside and came up with the rebound of a blocked shot by Pau Gasol at the other end, starting a break that led to the go-ahead basket from Sergio Llull.

After four scoreless minutes that featured a number of empty trips, Rudy Fernandez sank two from the line with just over 90 seconds left for a 60-57 lead.

Fernandez and Pau Gasol came up with blocks on France's next possession and Marc Gasol's basket made it a five-point game with 45 seconds to play.

Things soon after turned testy, as Ronny Turiaf and Nicolas Batum were each whistled for unsportsmanlike fouls, leading to a made free throw apiece from Jose Calderon and Navarro. Batum's hard foul led to a mild skirmish between the teams, but the officials quickly stepped in to prevent any further incidents.

Pau Gasol added two from the line for a 66-57 game before Mickael Gelabale's insignificant basket in the closing seconds ended the French drought and accounted for the final margin.

Batum had a tough day for France, making just 3-of-12 shots for nine points.

After Navarro started the game for Spain with a three, France scored 14 of the next 20 points and opened a 22-17 edge after 10 minutes. It was 29-21 three minutes into the second quarter and the French managed a slim 37-34 margin at the break. Neither team led by more than four during a tight third quarter.

08/08 13:40:48 ET


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