In a thrilling match-up between France and Lithuania, Victor Wembanyama emerged as the hero for the French team. With the stakes high, both teams were vying for the top spot in Group K, which would secure their qualification for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. While Lithuania appeared to have the upper hand, Wembanyama had other plans.
The young Frenchman’s shots helped his team secure a 70-63 victory over Lithuania, finishing the European Qualifiers with a 10-2 record. Although Wembanyama didn’t have the most outstanding game in terms of numbers, his performance in the clutch was what got France over the finish line.
France enjoyed a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Lithuania fought back to seize the lead late in the game. However, Wembanyama stepped up when it mattered most, scoring six of his team’s 15 points in the final two minutes to secure the victory.
Wembanyama’s soft touch on his inside arc jumpers and free throws helped increase France’s advantage to 66-60, making a comeback impossible for Lithuania. The 19-year-old finished with three rebounds and three blocks, showcasing his defensive abilities as well.
While France’s three-point shooting wasn’t exceptional, they outperformed Lithuania’s shooting from beyond the arc. France shot 6-of-18 from three-point range, while Lithuania shot 7-of-25. Interestingly, only Margiris Normantas, who led Lithuania with 17 points, was successful from beyond the arc for his team, with the rest of the roster shooting 3-of-17.
Although both teams qualified for the World Cup, France earned the distinction of finishing first overall after two qualifying rounds. Coach Vincent Collet can take pride in the performance of his seasoned players, with Nicolas Lang contributing 13 points off the bench on 5-of-5 shooting.
The way Wembanyama played in this contest demonstrated his ability to become a rising star in the basketball world. He has caught the attention of NBA scouts and is anticipated to go high in the draft because of his exceptional mix of size, talent, and quickness (7’2″).
In addition to his performance in this game, Wembanyama has been turning heads in the basketball world with his dominant performances in the French league. He recently scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a game against Strasbourg, solidifying his status as one of the most promising young talents in the game.
Overall, France’s victory over Lithuania was a testament to the team’s resilience and determination. While Wembanyama was the hero of the game, it was a team effort that secured the victory and secured their spot in the World Cup. As basketball fans around the world look forward to the upcoming tournament, France will undoubtedly be a team to watch.