Great Britain’s men are still chasing their first win at the 2012 Olympic Games after Brazil produced a late charge to claim a 67-62 victory on Monday in a thrilling clash.
The game was tied at 27-27 at half-time before Brazil eged 50-43 in front early in the fourth quarter.
But Luol Deng and Nate Reinking both hit threes to pull GB back into contention before the tense finale saw the Brazilians pull away with a decisive 7-0 burst.
“Very proud of my guys,” said GB coach Chris Finch. “Our goal was in this game was to be in a position to win this game in the last four minutes but we didn’t get the stops we needed when it mattered.
“Brazil did that but we gave ourselves chances throughout the game, pleased with the effort though.”
Both teams struggled to score in the opening period but after Brazil had taken a 4-0 lead, Dan Clark came into the game and got GB going with six quick points. With Brazil unable to score again, Great Britain took an 11-4 lead into the second quarter thanks to a Mike Lenzly three-pointer just before the buzzer.
Brazil finally got going in the second but with Mensah-Bonsu making some big baskets, Great Britain kept their noses in front. In the final seconds a turnover led to a Brazil lay-up that saw the teams go into the break level.
The Brazilians tried to pull away early in the third but Reinking and Freeland came up with baskets to keep GB just ahead. However, Brazil finished the quarter with a 6-1 run to lead 48-43.
After the south Americans had scored the first basket of the fourth, GB fought back, going on a 14-6 run and taking a 57-56 lead after back-to-back three-pointers from Luol Deng.
The lead lasted just a few seconds as Brazil responded with a 7-0 run to finally take control of the game. Great Britain had a chance to pull within 3 points in the final seconds were unable to convert from the line and Brazil held on for the win.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” Robert Archibald said. “There were stretches where we felt we had the game where we wanted it. But that’s been a recurring theme this summer, and even beyond that. We can’t close games out.
“Marcelinho just killed us in the pick-and-roll. We let him get to the spots on the floor where he’s most effective and we paid the price for that.”
Also in Great Britain’s group, Russia improved to 2-0 thanks to their 73-54 win over China and Spain also remained unbeaten after their 82-70 win over Australia.
The Spaniards are next up for the GB Men and the two teams will meet on Thursday.
The United States are now the only undefeated team in group A of the preliminary round of the men’s basketball competition after overcoming Tunisia’s early resistance en route to a crushing 110-63 win.
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Other Games: China 54-73 Russia, Australia 70-82 Spain, Nigeria 53-72 Lithuania, France 71-65 Argentina, Tunisia 63-110 USA
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