OLYMPIC TEST: FREELAND STUNS CHINESE

Great Britain defeated China 64-56 on Saturday night to pick up their first win of the Olympic Test tournament in London as Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng made his delayed return to the line-up.

But the NBA star was out-shone by Joel Freeland who hit 9 of his team-high 18 points in succession in the final quarter as the hosts surged clear.

It was a welcome boost for Chris Finch’s side who face Australia today in their penultimate warm-up tie ahead of the EuroBasket finals.

Deng added 15 as GB, who had led 32-26 at half-time, saved their best for last after China drew level in the fourth.

“We’d come closer and closer to a win with every game and finally, we got it,” said Finch. “China made it scrappy. It wasn’t pretty out there. But we came out on top.”

Deng is no longer GB's only option (Map Photos)

Deng slotted back in as if he’d never been away but, after basketball’s version of The Ashes, he will have just a week to properly integrate himself into Finch’s schemes.

However he will not have to carry the load alone with Freeland confirming his emergence as Britain’s other consistent option.

“Joel is just getting better and better and he’s improved every year I worked with him,” said Deng. He’s got a great future and he’s getting more aggressive as a player. It was a big performance from him and the team and we needed this win after losing three games.”

Jianlian Yi – who would end up with a game-high 20 for China – opened the scoring for the Chinese before Freeland answered from close range, and went on to hit six of GB’s first seven points.

Deng hit his first field goal of the summer as he drained a three to put Britain 11-10 ahead with 4:38 on the clock.

GB never trailed again in the period, and Deng’s one from two at the foul line with 0.5 seconds remaining sent them into the first interval 19-12 ahead.

Deng’s steal and dunk lit the crowd up at the start of the second period, and Freeland’s assist to Deng saw the lead grow to nine with two minutes gone.

Andrew Lawrence drained a three to answer a 5-0 China run and despite Lenzly missing GB’s last shot of the half, they went into the locker room with a slender lead.

Deng kept that six point lead intact in a low-scoring start to the second half, and an Archibald hook with three minutes remaining in the period saw that advantage remain.

China got within two points with a minute of the third period left, and although Clark hit a free-throw to increase that margin, GB went into the final break with a narrow 46-45 lead.

Mike Lenzly impressed (Map Photos)

Ogo Adegboye made it a three point game after good defensive work from Clark started the final period, and Lenzly drained a three to take his tally to 13 and keep GB ahead.

Yi gave China their first lead since the opening minute with a jump shot, only to see Freeland reply at the other end.

Freeland hit one of two foul shots to make it 54-52 with 4:23 remaining, but a technical foul on Clark saw Yi take his tally to 20 before the Malaga began his sensational spell, converting the ally-oop off Lawrence’s assist to finish China off.

GB captain Drew Sullivan missed the tie and is out for 4-5 days due to an injury against Serbia on Thursday.

(Game stats – External)

 Australia 78 Serbia 69

Australia came from behind to beat Serbia in Saturday’s final game, taking a 78-69 victory that ensured that France will win the tournament.

Joe Ingles and Nenad Krstic had 17 points apiece.

 

Croatia 60 France 83

France remained unbeaten in the tournament, moving to a 4-0 record with a 83-60 destruction of Croatia.

Tony Parker led Les Bleus with 12 points but it was balanced, and occasionally exhilarating offensive performance after they had led 35-31 at half-time, only to break their opponents with a 13-0 start to the third quarter.

Bojan Bogdanovic had a game-high 16 points for the Croats.

SCHEDULE

Sunday

Olympic Test Invitational (London). Great Britain v Australia (6pm), China v Croatia (3.30), France v Serbia (8.30)

Watch all Sunday’s games live via mvp247.com (UK only)

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