Great Britain’s World Cup qualifying hopes are now a long shot after falling 87-80 to Latvia in Newcastle.

Positives though in the bigger picture.

Just five days before their EuroBasket opener against Ukraine in Milan, this was a booster for Nate Reinking’s men against a visiting side containing NBA centre Kristaps Porzingis who dominated with 29 points and 14 rebounds.

A significant uptick from Thursday’s loss in Belgium, with GB going back and forth against proven opponents in a tense fourth quarter that went almost to the wire.

The hosts were composed, even when trailing 24-16 right at the close of the first period, responding with a 10-2 burst that drew them level.

Thereafter, it was cat and mouse, each surge responded to with the home backcourt elevating its three-point shooting as Reinking deployed small ball at the expense of his forwards.

Necessary perhaps when Ovie Soko fouled out with less than six minutes on court, and later Gabe Olaseni did likewise with 14 points and six rebounds in 30 minutes of action.

A 12-0 run took the visitors 64-60 in front entering the fourth but still GB fought on, daring to go 73-71 ahead when Soko’s last act was to feed Hesson for a lay-up off a steal from Ben Mockford.

Hesson, who had a team-best 15 points, hit a three that cut the gap to 81-78 with 1:46 left but the guests had one ace left to play, concluding with a 6-2 burst to seal victory.

Game Stats

Image: FIBA


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