France's Thomas Heurtel, center, steals the ball from Czech Republic's Patrik Auda, right, as Guerschon Yabusele, left, looks on during a men's basketball preliminary round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Saitama, Japan, Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Evan Fournier scored 21 points and France followed its victory over the U.S. by beating the Czech Republic 97-77 on Wednesday night for a 2-0 start to the Olympic basketball tournament.

Nando de Colo added 17 points and eight assists for the French, who can complete pool play undefeated with a victory over winless Iran on Saturday. Vincent Poirier scored 14 points.

The Czechs fell to 1-1 and will face the U.S. on Saturday with the winner guaranteed to finish no worse than second in Group A and move into the quarterfinals.

France ended a 25-game winning streak in the Olympics for the U.S. with an 83-76 victory Sunday, getting 28 points from Fournier. The French limited the Americans to 31% shooting from 3-point range.

This one couldn't have been more different at the start, with the Czechs going 8 for 9 behind the arc in the first quarter. Jakub Sirina made two straight to end the period and make give the Czech Republic a 28-22 lead.

But the Czechs couldn't hit one in the second quarter and the French turned around the game by outscoring them 29-12 to bring a 51-40 lead to halftime.

France kept pulling away in the third and had a 25-point lead early in the fourth.

Jan Vesely scored 19 points for the Czechs and Ondrej Balvin had 18. Tomas Satoransky of the Chicago Bulls finished with 14 points and nine assists.


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