WCQ: GB KEEP WORLD DREAM ALIVE

Great Britain grabbed a World Cup lifeline by beating Estonia 74-65 in Glasgow. With one fixture left, the second phase of qualification remains a possibility. How priceless that is. It was the perfect way to commemorate Kieron Achara’s 100th cap for Great Britain and it means Number 101, against Israel on Monday, has some meaning.

Win and GB – who were led by 20 points from Dan Clark – will survive into the next stage of the race to reach China 2019 later this year.

And at the end of a week where the focus has been on machinations off the court, Alberto Lorenzo’s men did just enough on it – especially in the fourth quarter – to grab a priceless first victory in Group H following an initial four defeats.

“It was a hard win but that’s what we needed,” Achara said. “We got it done in the fourth quarter when the guys stepped up their defence and shut them down. It was all about winning these two games this weekend. Now we go back to work and try and get the second one.”

The visitors spurted 12-6 clear but there was little coherent from either side. Shots missed, turnovers made, line-ups tweaked.

Debutant Mo Soluade, handed a start, sparked an 8-0 first quarter flurry that provided GB’s initial lead but Slim-Sander Vene, who scored 14 of his 24 points in the first half, provided repeatedly elusive in taking Estonia into a 35-29 half-time advantage. Back and forth it went but Britain’s three-point shooting suddenly caught fire decisively.

Justin Robinson, making an impressive return to international duty, and Clark matched each other from beyond the arc in a third period burst and although their side fell briefly behind, the decisive break was ahead.

Gabe Olaseni – who notched 16 points and 12 rebounds – and Soluade converted the bulk of a 13-0 run as Estonia were held scoreless for over five minutes as relief sped around the Emirates Arena.

One more triumph on Monday back here – and Round 2 unexpectedly beckons.

Group H standings. 1. Greece 5-0, 2. Israel 2-3, 3. Estonia 2-3, 4. Great Britain 1-4 Game StatsUpdates Notes Ryan Richards and Josh Steel were  the two players left out of the 12. Richards (calf) is expected to be available for Monday’s game vs Israel.

Photos: Mansoor Ahmed

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