Sep 4, 2013
By UConn Athletic Communications
UConn senior Niels Giffey (Berlin, Germany) scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds to help the German National Team upset France, 80-74, Wednesday in the team's first game of EuroBasket 2013, the European Championships.
The game was played at Tivoli Arena in Ljubljana, Slovenia, before 2,400 fans.
Giffey hit all six of his shots from the floor, including one three-pointer, and completed his perfect shooting night with a free throw as the Germans posted a win in the first of five games they will play over the next week in Group A of the Championships. Of the six teams in Group A, the teams with the top three records will advance to the next round.
Giffey, who started and played 31 minutes, scored 12 of his points in the first half as Germany jumped out to leads of 27-14 after one quarter and 43-39 at halftime. The Germans held a narrow 57-56 lead after three quarters, but France, led by Tony Parker of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs (18 points), took over the lead, 72-69 with 2:14 remaining.
Germany's Lucca Staiger hit two consecutive three-pointers, however, to put Germany back in front, 75-72, with 0:56 remaining. Parker canned a layup to slice the lead to 75-74, but Germany's Robin Benzing (19 points) hit a crucial three-pointer with 0:19 left to give Germany a 78-74 lead, good enough to seal the victory.
Germany, which shot a sizzling 59.6 percent from the floor, and outrebounded France, 29-18, had lost three straight to France coming into the game and is now 5-9 against France overall.
Germany returns to action Thursday, taking on Belgium. Friday, the team battles Ukraine, and it challenges Great Britain on Sunday and finishes Group A play against Israel on Monday, all in Slovenia.