OLYMPIC TEST: GB GUTTED AS SERBIA THRILL


Great Britain suffered a heartbreaking 97-95 loss to Serbia on Thursday night to remain winless at the Olympic basketball test event in London.

But Chris Finch’s side came so close to stunning last year’s world championship semi-finalists as their build-up to the EuroBasket finals brought more positive signs.

GB, who had led by as much as nine in the first quarter, went ahead through Mike Lenzly with just over minute remaining. However the Serbs levelled before Milos Teodosic hit what proved to be the winning shot with 2 seconds remaining with a last-gasp effort from Dan Clark falling short.

“I thought even when we were down in this game we were dictating the play,” said Finch. “It’s another step forward for us.”

Eric Boateng led Britain with 15 points while Nate Reinking returned to the line-up to score 13 on 6/8 shooting.

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, who watched the game from the sidelines, is expected to finally feature for the hosts when they face China on Saturday. But he will join a side that has shown it can impress without him.

GB again started well as Andrew Lawrence opened the scoring before Clark drained a three off Sullivan’s assist as GB opened with a 6-0 run. Serbia replied with five points, only for Nate Reinking, Lawrence and Ogo Adegboye to answer as GB rushed into a 19-11 lead with 3:16 on the clock.

Eric Boateng delivered another assured showing (Map/BB)

With Joel Freeland picking up his second foul Serbia closed out the period with a 7-3 run, but it was Britain who went into the first break leading 22-18.

Sullivan was rewarded with some good work on the offensive board to open the second period scoring, and the GB skipper hit a three to make it a six point game after three minutes of action.

But with five players having collected their second foul by the mid-stage of the period, GB did well to remain ahead with Adegboye taking his tally to seven and Lenzly also getting on the scoreboard before Teodosic ultimately tied the game at 44-44 at half-time.

Reinking put GB back in front with a pair of baskets, only to be answered by Serbia on each occasion, and Teodosic gave them their first lead of the game with 7:31 on the clock.

Teodosic picked up a technical foul allowing Lenzly to put GB ahead by three, but a 7-0 Serbia run saw Finch call a timeout with 4:35 on the clock and his side trailing 59-55.

Back-to-back Clark threes put Britain back into the lead before Devon van Oostrum also hit from long range. Boateng’s dunk followed by the bonus helped GB go into the final break 73-69 ahead.

Clark picked up his fourth foul as Dusko Savanovic opened the fourth period with a three-point play and Bryan-Amaning followed suit as Uros Tripkovic also scored an and-one to put the Serbs up by two before Reinking tied the game with an off-balance jump shot.

A Lawrence three kept GB in the game and Boateng made it a three point game with as many minutes remaining before Lenzly’s floater made it 92-91 with 2:30 on the clock.

Reinking scored off the dribble to level things with 100 seconds left but it set the scene for what proved to be a frustrating finale.

“Tonight we gave ourselves the chance to win, but it wasn’t quite enough,” said Finch. “We made the plays and right to the end we dictated and controlled the game. We were gutsy, both tonight and last night against Croatia.

“Today, it came down to two shots, they made theirs and we missed ours, but we stuck to our game plan and I’m pleased with our progress. If we keep playing like this we are going to win games.”

Freeland (ankle) and Sullivan (hip), who were forced to the bench, will have treatment on Friday but neither is expected to miss the weekend’s conclusion.

Veteran centre Nenad Krstic had a game-best 21 for Serbia. Game stats (External site).

 

Australia 78 Croatia 66

Portland Trailblazers guard Patrick Mills had 22 points as Australia surprised Croatia 78-66.

Kruno Simon had 18 for the Croats.

 

France 76 China 59 

France, despite leaving Tony Parker on the bench, beat China 76-59 behind 15 points from Nicolas Batum in a game which they never looked troubled.  China, still winless in the event, was paced by 20 from Yi Jianlain.

Here’s a little look behind the scenes.

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