Okulaja, Germany move one step closer

Tar Heel graduate Ademola Okulaja is on his way to the final four -- of the European Championship (Eurobasket 2001) -- after Germany (4-1) defeated France (2-2), 81-77, Wednesday night in Istanbul, Turkey.

"Addie" was the game's top rebounder with 8 boards, and added 8 points (3-8 FG, 2-4 FT), 2 steals and an assist. Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks) led the way for Germany with 32 points (13-21 FG, 5-9 3pt, 1-5 FT).

Former Tar Heel Vasco Evtimov played 7 minutes, scored 4 points (2-3 FG) and grabbed a rebound for France.

Germany's quarterfinal win over France assures them of a spot in the 2002 World Championship for Men, which will be held in Indianapolis.

Next, though, is a semifinal game with Turkey (3-1), an 87-85 OT winner against Croatia (2-3), on Saturday (9/8).

France moves into the losers bracket against Croatia, and needs a 5th-place ranking to qualify for the 2002 World Championship.

The last time Germany won the European Championship, in 1993, another former Tar Heel, Henrik Rödl, was on the team.

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