Great Britain were crushed 95-62 by Greece on Sunday in their latest warm-up friendly in Crete.
It was a second loss in a row for Joe Prunty’s side who were simply over-powered by one of the favourites for EuroBasket despite a team-best 15 points from Kieron Achara.
With Drew Sullivan absent, and Alex Marcotullio and Andrew Lawrence nursing injuries, Gareth Murray and Liam Potter were both handed their GB debuts but the newcomers could do little to resist the Greek onslaught which arrived after a promising initial spell.
It was one-sided at times, troublingly so. To be expected, of course, but better will be required by the time they lands in Slovenia in two weeks time.
“We got off to a good start but they started moving the ball and we just broke down defensively and mentally,” said Achara, the stand-in captain. “I really believe we’re continuing to fight but fighting’s not enough sometimes.
“You need to actually execute down the stretch and do a job defensively. Our focus is to be a team and a lot of times in the game tonight, we weren’t a team.”
The sides traded leads for the opening seven minutes with Achara – who spent last season with A1 outfit Kavala – hitting a three which put the visitors 16-15 ahead. But it was to be their last advantage.
Michael Bramos converted two free-throws which put the hosts in front for good, starting an 15-4 burst which broke Britain’s resistance. And with London-born centre Ian Vougioukas hitting nine points in the second quarter, Prunty’s men conceded eight unanswered points as Greece pulled 20 clear before GB closed to 46-29 at half-time.
It got worse for the guests. The Greeks converted 5/8 from three-point range in a torrid eight-minute spell with Antonis Fotsis and Kostas Kaimakoglu – who had a game-best 16 points – the chief destroyers.
Edging further clear with a 7-0 flurry, a 22-5 charge saw GB stampeded underfoot as one long-range delivery arrived after another.
And although Achara finally found room in the paint to spark a 7-1 run, it was a brief respite.
Greece closed with another 15-4 surge, their cushion peaking at 93-58, as Prunty was left with more to ponder and problems to solve.
“Our post defence early on wasn’t very good,” the American said. “We sort of solved that problem. Our middle pick-and-roll defence wasn’t very good. There are a lot of things we have to work on. Offensively, we’re not going to win a lot of games if we only have eight assists. We have to share the ball as a team.
“We need to share the ball better. And when we get those opportunities sometimes, we don’t take them. On other occasions, we need to finish better in the paint. But it’s a combination of things. It’s a combination of the passing to get us there and then shooting it or having the strength to finish it.
“There’s a lot of things.”
Britain expect to have Sullivan back for their trip to Lublin to face Poland and Sweden later this week.
Van Oostrum added 12 points with Murray notching seven on his debut.
Qtr: Gre-GB (1: 24-18, HT: 46-29, 3: 77-45)
Notes: Sullivan missed the game to attend his camp. Murray was called up from the reserve list for his GB debut while Potter scoring four on his first appearance. GB starters: v.Oostrum, Robinson, Johnson, Boateng, Achara. Greece beat Florida State 87-75 in an exhibition on Saturday.
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