France dethrone Spain in overtime Euro thriller

Two years after Spain broke their hearts in the final, France dethroned the two-time European champions on Friday and will meet Lithuania in the 2013 EuroBasket final.

France dethrone Spain in overtime Euro thriller
Photo: Andrej Isakovic/AFP

France's superstar Tony Parker scored 32 points and Antoine Diot scored 10, including four free throws in the final 23 seconds, as France beat Spain 75-72 in overtime.

"It's just like practice. I can't think about the situation or I would miss the free throws every time," said Diot about his decisive foul shots.

Spain were paced by 18 points and nine rebounds from Marc Gasol while Rudy Fernandez scored 17 points for the champions who were hoping to become the first nation to three-peat in Europe since Yugoslavia in 1977.

France returned to the final for the second time and will hope to knock off Lithuania for their first European crown.

Lithuania, who won the 2003 final 93-84 in Sweden, will be shooting for title number four thanks to a 77-62 win over Croatia.

Linas Kleiza collected 22 points, 11 rebounds and two assists while Jonas Maciulis drained four three-pointers in scoring 23 points and Mantas Kalnietis had 18 points and four assists.

"It is important for us, for our generation, now that most of the older guys have left the team. Our generation has proved that we can play basketball and represent Lithuania too," said Maciulis, whose team will add another gold to triumphs in 1937, 1939 and 2003 or a second silver following 1995.

"I think we have proved something now and we need to take one more step." 

Croatia had their eight-game winning streak snapped despite 15 points from Bojan Bogdanovic.

The Balkan side will face off against Spain looking for the bronze medal, which would be their third after 1993 and 1995.

"Honestly, from the first second (Lithuania) seemed to be stronger, faster, more reactive. They are stronger physically but they also looked fresher than our team," said Croatia coach Jasmin Repesa.

Ukraine started Friday by knocking off Italy 66-58 in fifth to eighth place classification action, a win which secures the 2015 European championship hosts a spot at the 2014 World Cup.

Saturday will see Ukraine play Slovenia for fifth place and Italy take on Serbia for seventh place.

The winner between Italy and Serbia will also book a ticket to the World Cup.

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Basketball star Tony Parker to buy French ski resort

French basketball star Tony Parker, ex-husband of Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, is to buy a ski resort in the French Alps and plans to turn it into a year-round holiday destination.

Basketball star Tony Parker to buy French ski resort
NBA star Tony Parker is branching out into ski resorts. Photo: AFP

It’s the second time in a week that he has made the news in France.

It was announced last Thursday that Parker, a four-time NBA champion, and fellow Frenchman Nicolas Batum will next January lead their team the Hornets against the Bucks in the first regular season NBA game ever to be held in Paris.

Parker, 36, will take control of 78 percent of the SEVLC firm that controls the ski lifts at the small resort of Villard-de-Lans et de Corrençons-en-Vercors some time this month, a spokesman for his company told AFP.

A deal was voted through unanimously last week by the town council to sell control of SEVLC to Infinity Nine Mountain, a company owned by Parker.

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Parker has ambitious plans for the until now low-key resort, with a massive building project on the cards to try and turn it into a place where visitors will come all year round and not just for the short ski season.

His Hornets teammate Nicolas Batum is also taking part in the project to overhaul the resort.

Parker was already famous in his native France for his sporting success but also became a regular feature in celebrity magazines after he started dating Eva Longoria in 2005

They married in Paris in 2007 but the marriage quickly became troubled amid reports of infidelities and they eventually divorced in 2011.

Parker is now married to French journalist Axelle Francine and they have two sons.