Great Britain will not make the second round of EuroBasket but they finished on a high, defeating Poland 88-81.

Luol Deng had 28 points and 14 rebounds but it was Joel Freeland who provided the decisive impetus, adding 27 and 10, on 12/12 shooting, in a strong late push. It means Poland missed out on progress, with Turkey’s 65-57 win over Spain – secured with a 16-2 fourth quarter – ensuring that GB ended in fourth place in Group A.

The Olympics now beckons.

“I’ve just told our guys that I’m extremely proud of how they played today and all week,” said GB coach Chris Finch. “Our aim after the first three games was to win both remaining games. We played very well against a Poland team who’ve impressed all tournament.

“We knew our energy would be key as it’s hard to lift yourself after a game like they had yesterday. We found ways to make plays at the right time today.

“Joel was fabulous and I knew he had been frustrated all week, but he always puts in a tonne of effort and he just gets better every summer. I’m pleased for him to have had such a great game.”

Finch’s men raced into a 12-4 lead but Poland stung back with eight consecutive points before GB edged 18-17 ahead at the end of the first quarter.

With so much at stake, the Poles were relentless and Dardan Berisha provided their first advantage early in the second before a 12-3 burst that pushed GB into a 39-31 half-time cushion.

Deng was out-shone in crunch time (Map Photos)

But Britain were never likely to win by the margin of 55 they needed to stand any chance of progress.

Down 42-31 early in the third quarter, and requiring a win to advance into the second phase, Poland fought back to edge ahead at the outset of the fourth.

But Freeland delivered a stunning late flurry, underlining his showing with a three-pointer with 1:05 left which truly nailed the Poles to the mast.

“I’m really happy for the team that we got these wins,” said Freeland.

“But I put a lot of pressure on myself to have a good EuroBasket and I didn’t do that. I’m happy to finish on a high but I’m not happy with my performance, personally.

“I have to focus in. I have to do what I can do, day in day out, and I have to believe I myself. I felt I’d been lacking a bit of confidence. Today I went out with no worries and we saw what happened.”

In Monday’s last group tie,  Lithuania ran out 98-69 winners over Portugal.


EuroBasket, Group A. Great Britain 88 Poland 81, Spain 57 Turkey 65, Lithuania 98 Portugal 69, Group B. Israel 96 Italy 95, Germany 81 Latvia 80, Serbia 96 France 97 (OT). Group C. Finland 71 Montenegro 65, Greece 74 Croatia 69, Macedonia 75 Bosnia 63. Group D. Ukraine 74 Belgium 61, Bulgaria 79 Georgia 69, Russia 65 Slovenia 64

Group A

P W L Pts
1 Spain 5 4 1 9
2 Lithuania 5 4 1 9
3 Turkey 5 3 2 8
4 Great Britain 5 2 3 7
5 Poland 5 2 3 7
6 Portugal 5 0 5 5

Round 2 qualifiers

A: Spain, Lithuania, Turkey, B: France, Serbia, Germany, C: Macedonia, Greece, Finland, D: Russia, Slovenia, Georgia

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