OLYMPIC TEST: GB DOWNED BY OZ IN OT

Great Britain’s basketballers lost 91-90 to Australia in an overtime thriller on Sunday night to end the Olympic Test tournament in London with just one win from five games.

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng had a game-high 26 points in GB’s penultimate warm-up for this month’s EuroBasket finals but his efforts were thwarted when Australian guard Adam Gibson hit a decisive free throw with 2.7 seconds left.

Chris Finch’s side, who beat China 64-56 on Saturday hit nine consecutive points in the fourth quarter to edge ahead, only for Joe Ingles to level at 80-80 and force an extra period.

Joel Freeland, who added 20 points, gave the hosts a lead of 5 but Australia, who finished runners-up to tournament winners France, kept their cool from the foul line.

“All credit to Australia, they played extremely well throughout the game, but I thought our guys played really tough tonight,” said Finch.

“In the third we hung in there and got to the free throw line a lot but in the end we were five or ten minutes away from a really good tournament results wise. It’s been part of our learning process and there are a lot of good things to take from this week, we now have a short amount of time to put it all right.”

The only major downside was an injury to Dan Clark who will have X-rays on Monday on what was initially feared to be a broken finger.

But that aside, there were still plenty of positives to find.

The Aussies opened the scoring through Aleks Maric, but scores from Deng and Nate Reinking saw Boomers’ coach Brett Brown call the fastest timeout of the tournament after just 76 seconds.

A second foul call on Freeland with under four minutes gone saw him sit down, but a lovely assist from Clark saw Deng put GB 8-7 ahead.

Deng led by example (Map Photos)

Australia scored the next five points, but GB stayed in touch with Archibald and Clark both hitting one of two at the foul line, and despite Clark’s hook shot going in, it was David Barlow who sent the visitors into the first break with a 21-15 lead.

GB tied the score with a 6-1 run to open the second period, only to see the Boomers reply with an 8-2 run before Clark ended the tear off a Freeland assist. Deng went coast-to-coast before feeding Freeland to make it a two point game.

Reinking sunk a three to put GB back ahead by one, but it was the Australians who finished ahead as they went into the locker room 39-35.

That lead grew to ten as the visitors opened the second half with a 9-3 run, but some good battling from Freeland saw him sent to the foul line where he hit both shots to make it 56-50 with 4:20 remaining.

Mike Lenzly made it a four point game but Mark Worthington hit a big three to keep Australia ahead before Devon van Oostrum cut Australia’s lead to 62-59 going into the fourth period.

Deng’s jumper made it a one point game to open the fourth period, but with Eric Boateng being called for a harsh foul after appearing to block Maric’s shot, Australia made it 71-65 with 5:40 on the clock.

Freeland’s block on AJ Ogilvy saw the Aussie big man then foul out in frustration, and van Oostrum gave GB their first lead of the half when he drained a three to put Britain 80-78 ahead with 1:13 on the clock.

Joe Ingles levelled things with a pair at the line, but Deng missed a long three before Matt Nelson saw his attempted put-back miss, and GB were left with 1.8 seconds on the clock to get off a shot.

Van Oostrum – handed extra minutes with Andrew Lawrence resting an injury – inbounded the ball to Deng, but hesaw his shot fall short to send the game into overtime.

Gibson opened the extra period scoring for Australia before Deng fed Lenzly for a three to put GB ahead and Freeland made it a three point game.

That lead grew to five and Freeland dunked off a slick van Oostrum pass, but Newly hit a big three with 50 seconds left to make it a one point GB lead.

A massive Deng block on Ingles saw that lead maintained and Adegboye was sent to the line on the break, only to miss both foul shots.

Deng sent Damian Martin to the line with 10.6 seconds left where he split his free-throws to tie the game again, and Deng turned the ball over leaving Adegboye forced to foul Gibson, who sunk one of two at the line to seal the victory.

Finch was left with a selection dilemma as he prepares to name his final 12-man squad with a revelatory performance from 18-year-old point guard van Oostrum who scored nine to press his case for inclusion.

But Robert Archibald admitted there is tough work to do before next Saturday’s final tune-up against Latvia.

“There are a lot of positives from this week and the progress we’re making is encouraging but unfortunately we gave this game away,” he said.

“We keep knocking on the door of these games to win them but eventually we are going to have to kick down that door and find a way to close these games down, eventually those wins are going to come.”

Game STATS

Elsewhere, France – who have already won the tournament – defeated Serbia. Tony Parker was strong again for France with 24 points as Les Bleus showed their impress credentials for EuroBasket.

Croatia 83 China 53

In the opening game of the day, Croatia dominated China 83-53.

Bojan Bogdanovic had 16 points for the Croatia who picked their opponents apart with some sublime passing.

It completed an unhappy return to London for their coach Bob Donewald, whose side were winless in all five of their UK warm-ups ahead of AsiaBasket.

Live STATS

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