Great Britain brilliantly defeated Greece 78-69 in Newcastle.

It was the first game in the qualifiers for the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup and what a perfect start it was.

And after trailing 50-33 early in the third period when the visitors reeled off ten unanswered points, a 33-10 run, inspired by hot hands of Teddy Okereafor, Luke Nelson and Tarik Phillip, delivered an explosive response with the home team 9-16 from three-point range.

Okereafor had 19 points on his record 50th consecutive appearance as GB overwhelmed Greece with tight defence and energetic transition offence with Ashley Hamilton a formidable obstacle and Jordan Williams a composed presence on his debut when he was asked to be a totem in the fourth.

“I think you can see what this win means to the group, we were fortunate to have the support that we had, it was loud in there and it was great to have a game like this on home soil,” interim coach Marc Steutel said.

“What epitomises our group is the final buzzer goes and everybody is looking forward to the next game. There were many elements that made up that second half performance but Teddy Okereafor to set a record that I don’t think will be broken.

“And to hit these three-pointers against Greece, especially after playing part of his career in Greece, it was a really satisfying moment for him. Resilience is absolutely a trait of our group, we almost enjoy being with our backs against the wall.”

An all-round display even accounting for the absence of Greece’s NBA and EuroLeague contingent. A marker laid down for Sunday’s onward trip to Istanbul with Phillip adding 16 and Gabe Olaseni 13 in a first victory over the former European champions since 1984.

“My team was behind me,” said Okereafor. “We had one goal and four days to prepare and everybody played together, stuck together and made plays down the stretch to win the game.”

Dimitrios Agravanis had a team-high 19 points for the Greeks who now head home to host Belarus but they were doomed by shooting just 8-31 from distance.


Game StatsUpdates

Earlier, Turkey sustained a surprise 84-70 loss to Belarus in Minsk.

Group standings: 1. Belarus (1-0), 2. Great Britain (1-0), 2. Greece (0-1), 4. Turkey (0-1)


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