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FINLAND PUNISH FLAWED GREAT BRITAIN
- Updated: August 15, 2013
Great Britain were crushed 88-66 by Finland in their latest EuroBasket warm-up in Helsinki on Thursday.
After the hosts edged 36-35 ahead at half-time, a 16-0 burst in the third period left GB in deep trouble.
And they eventually fell as much as 26 behind as new coach Joe Prunty suffered the first defeat of his reign.
“The third quarter was tough for us, offensively and defensively,” the American admitted.
“We’d done a decent job in the first half in terms of limiting their three-point shots. We stabilised things in the second quarter but after we led at the start of the third, it kind of snowballed.
An early 7-0 run sparked the Finns into action as they pulled 24-14 in front after the opening period.
But Devon van Oostrum ignited GB into ten unanswered points at the start of the second with the sides trading leads before the hosts edged 36-35 ahead at half-time.
But with the guard sidelined for most of the third after falling awkwardly on a drive to the basket, the life seemed to slip out of his colleagues.
After Johnson hit the opening score of the second half, Finland seized the initiative with a 16-0 run and another 10-1 burst late in the third proved catastrophic for British hopes.
Down by as much as 76-50 with nine minutes left, and with van Oostrum returning, the gap was closed just a little.
But Prunty was left with his team’s defensive flaws exposed by the hosts’ execution, with too many open shots granted and too many simple turnovers conceded.
The American now, if not already, knows the size of the challenge at hand when GB reach Slovenia.
“We’re going to have to handle runs like that much better,” he said. “We have to get better looks offensively. We have to cope with teams playing aggressive defence. And we’ll have to do a better job defensively, fight through screens, block out and improve a lot.”
Eric Boateng had a team-high 13 points with van Oostrum and Johnson on 12 apiece.
GB move on to face Greece in Crete on Sunday needing to improve on a tally of just seven assists and reduce a tally of 22 turnovers.
“It is a learning experience for us as a group,” said Drew Sullivan.
“There are a lot of guys who haven’t played in this kind of atmosphere, against teams who are able to turn it up the way Finland did. And that’s something we need to improve.”
Petteri Koponen scored a game-high 14 for the Finns.
Starters: Devon Van Oostrum, Kyle Johnson, Drew Sullivan, Kieron Achara, Eric Boateng.
Orlan Jackman made a brief debut appearance of six seconds in the first half. Liam Potter also won a first cap but was a DNP along with Andrew Lawrence who is nursing a minor injury and did not dress.
Pic: BB/Mansoor Ahmed