Great Britain’s men grabbed a lifeline at the European Under 20 Championships with a 85-56 victory over Luxembourg in Sarajevo.
A 16-0 run in the second quarter sent Tim Lewis’ side 42-26 clear at half-time and, with Ryan Richards grabbing 20 points and 11 rebounds, their side coasted home.
But GB’s hopes of reaching the next stage still rest largely on overcoming Norway on Sunday in what is a must-win.
“We knew that Luxembourg were going to be a scrappy team but we stuck to task well and I’m pleased with the win,” he said. “The opportunity presented itself to give some other players a run out. A win always gives a team confidence and we now look forward to another tough game against Norway.”
GB’s pivotal 16-0 second quarter run was sparked by six points each from Devon van Oostrum and Ali Fraser. Rene Wolzfeld ended the baron spell with a three pointer on the stroke of the half but his team still trailed 42-26. Lewis would have been happy with the start his side made, shooting at 50% which is a vast improvement on the two previous matches.
Wolzfeld began where he left off with a further two three pointers when play resumed. Richards netted back to back baskets before a trio of triples from Marcotullio took the lead beyond 20 points as GB embarked on another dominant run. The British youngsters amassed 11 unanswered points in just over a minute. Schmit fired in another three pointer while Lewis took the opportunity to rest the trio of Richards, Marcotullio and van Oostrum who had all passed double figures.
GB were still in total control and had a 63-43 lead at the end of the third quarter. Derek Wilson instigated a 6-2 start to the fourth forcing Lewis into a precautionary time-out resulting in the return of the top scorers. A successful three point play from Richards helped him to 20 points for the second day running.
Schmit repeated the feat with a third score from beyond the arc while Fraser made consecutive dunks at the other end. Richards’ work was done with three minutes remaining finishing with another double-double adding 11 rebounds to his 20 point haul. Lee Reilly and Lee Goldsbrough both netted late three pointers sealing a commanding victory to keep their hopes alive.
Earlier, the Czech Republic retained the only unbeaten record with a 85-65 defeat of the Norwegians while Portugal overcame Finland 57-50 to leave both sides on a 2-1 record.
Additional reporting: Brad Gains
Temi tirade can’t stop French
Great Britain’s women will play off with Italy on Sunday for seventh place at the European Under 20 Championships after suffering a 55-39 loss to France in the classification play-offs.
Returning from injury, Temi Fagbenle had 15 points and 6 rebounds but watched her side collapse in the second half.
Up 21-16 at half-time in Novi Sad, GB were bombarded by the deposed champions who were intent on avenging their loss in the group stages to Damian Jennings’ side.
And they out-scored the Brits 23-10 in the fourth quarter to coast away, booking a play-off with Ukraine for fifth.
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