Alex Marcotullio hit a hook shot on the buzzer as Great Britain edged out Israel 83-82 in a dramatic tie at the European Under 20 Championships in Sarajevo.

And it saved the blushes of Tim Lewis and his side as they coughed up a lead of 26 points before scraping a win which keeps them in contention for ninth place in the classification round.

With Finland defeating Iceland 87-76, it means GB must now defeat the Icelanders on Thursday evening to progress into the second phase of the consolation tournament.

But despite Marcotullio’s heroics, and a 32 points and 14 rebounds haul from Ryan Richards, GB again threatened to deceive with Devon van Oostrum committing 11 of the team’s 29 turnovers.

The clincher was even more remarkable after GB found themselves trailing by 5 with 13 seconds left before pulling themselves back.

“Obviously there was a momentum swing, and a bit of complacency crept in,” said Lewis. “But the most important thing is we got the win in incredible fashion.”

Richards set the tone early on with two triples in an 8-0 start for a GB side on a three match win streak before Bar Timor got Israel up and running with a three pointer of his own.

Lewis’ side then finished the opening quarter in total control as another three from Richards combined with two from Marcotullio dominated a 15-2 burst to open up a huge 32-13 lead. A third triple from Marcotullio featured in a 9-2 start to the second as the GB lead peaked at 41-15.

Israel began their gradual fightback with runs of 7-0 and 8-2 either side of a Devon van Oostrum score from long range. Nimrod Tishman also netted a three before adding consecutive baskets late on although his side still trailed 52-38 going into the half time interval.

Richards sparked an 8-2 burst at the start of the third with the first four points as GB increased their advantage to 19 points. In a low scoring quarter, Israel capitalized on a lapse from their opponents with a 12-2 close to the third quarter reducing their arrears to nine points at 64-55.

Marcotullio re-established the Brits double digit lead only for Israel to reply with the next eight points as they honed in. On two occasions, Lee Goldsbrough prevented Israel from taking the lead with important baskets at the other end.

GB managed to stave off the Czechs in a tense final quarter in the previous game but Israel were not to be denied. They took the lead for the first time in the match on a 9-2 run with Guy Lavie at the heart of their attack.

Richards reached 30 points for the first time in the tournament to level before Lavie scored five points in quick succession to give Israel a 79-74 lead with just under two minutes remaining. The game seemed to have slipped away from GB as the match neared its conclusion.

Cue another tense finish involving GB. Richards nailed a pair of free throws then Timor restored the five point advantage with 13 seconds left.

Van Oostrum struck from beyond the arc and then Jonathon Sztarkman could only convert one of two foul shots with the score still in their favour at 82-79.

Then, Van Oostrum made no such mistake at the line making both before a turnover from Tishman gave GB a chance to snatch victory in the dying seconds. Van Oostrum missed his chance from the perimeter only for Marcotullio to grab an eighth rebound before he produced a fatal blow to completed his own 18-point haul.

Lavie’s 21 points were in vain for Israel.

Additional reporting: Brad Gains

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