Jazz Fontecchio Misses Free-Throws, Gobert, France Advance

Sep 14, 2022, 1:17 PM
Utah Jazz rookie Simone Fontecchio plays against France at EuroBasket (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz rookie Simone Fontecchio missed clutch two free throws late in Italy’s quarter-final matchup against France, paving the way for the Rudy Gobert-led French squad to advance.

Fontecchio was fouled by the French team with Italy leading 77-75 with just five seconds left to play, giving the high-scoring forward a chance to put the game out of reach.

However, Fontecchio missed both free throws and France knotted the game up on their next possession. Fontecchio again had on opportunity to send Italy to the EuroBasket semifinals, though his potential game-winning floater was off the mark, and France advanced with a 93-85 overtime victory.

The loss ended Italy’s improbably run after eliminating the previously undefeated Serbia team led by two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic earlier this week.

Fontecchio had been a breakout star for the Italians averaging 19.4 points per game, good for eighth-best among all EuroBasket performers while shooting an extremely efficient 49 percent from the floor and 45 percent from the three-point line.

The Jazz rookie scored 21 points, five rebounds, and two assists in Wednesday’s losing effort.

Gobert meanwhile continues his impressive run in international play after leading the French National Team to the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. France now heads to the EuroBasket semifinals where they will face the winner of the quarter-final matchup between Slovenia and Poland.

The former Jazz center is averaging 14.7 points per game for France while adding 10.9 rebounds.

On the other side of the bracket, Germany will face Spain on Friday for a chance to advance to the EuroBasket Finals on Sunday.

Fontecchio was the last Jazzman competing at EuroBasket after Lauri Markkanen and Finland were eliminated by Spain on Tuesday in the round of eight.

Markkanen and Finland eliminated Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic’s Croatian national team in the first stage of the knockout round on Sunday.

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Jazz Fontecchio Misses Free-Throws, Gobert, France Advance