YOUNG HEADS GB WIN

Great Britain broke their summer duck at the last opportunity with a 76-66 victory against Portugal in Leiden.

Head coach Joe Prunty’s side scored 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to triumph in the friendly behind a game-high 16 points from Alex Young.

There were strong performances across the board as Will Saunders, with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Robert Gilchrist, 12 points and 10 rebounds, went for double-doubles and GB won the overall rebounding battle 48-30.

“We went behind early in the fourth quarter, but called a time-out and responded very well with rebounding, hustle plays and obviously we put the ball in the basket,” said Prunty.

“We made a lot of plays when we were facing adversity and that says a lot about the character of these guys. We are growing something and every time we get together, it is important.

“It is year by year, day by day.”

GB jumped out to an 11-2 start as Saunders and Young made bright starts, pushing the ball on the fast-break before Saunders drained his first three-pointer.

Portugal responded to reduce the deficit to 19-13 after ten minutes, but Prunty’s side continued to hold the advantage in the rebounding battle.

That was something that allowed them to get out in transition and close the half on a 7-0 run – a burst of scoring capped by a Young triple which handed them a 34-24 advantage at the interval.

A 13-0 Portugal run early in the third period saw the lead change hands briefly, before Young and Joe Hart struck in a swift retort.

The Portuguese started the fourth quarter well and held a 56-52 lead with eight minutes to play, but once again GB reacted well as Fahro Alihodzic’s tip-in sparked the decisive burst.

Victory over the Portuguese leaves Britain’s teams with an 8-27 overall record in 2015 in both competitive and friendly fixtures.

 

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