EUROS WITHIN REACH FOR GB

Great Britain crushed Macedonia 89-62 in Kavadarci to move within reach of qualifying for EuroBasket 2017.

Dan Clark hit a game-high 21 points as Joe Prunty’s men ensured they will finish as runners-up in Group G – effectively meaning they might not even need to beat Luxembourg on Saturday to make next summer’s finals.

With their goal difference enhanced, and the margin of victory from their last qualifier irrelevant, it was all about running up the score against the Macedonians and it was mission accomplished with a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth ensuring the game was certainly out of reach – cementing them in a solid position, with a 2-2 record and a +17 differential, in the race to be one of the top four second-placed teams across the seven pools that earn a berth in the 2017 showpiece.

Andrew Lawrence added 14 with fellow reserve guard Teddy Okereafor putting in another assured display with GB assuming control early on and never relenting.

44-30 ahead at half-time, Clark rapidly extended his team’s cushion to 17 and although a 8-0 run from the hosts briefly slashed their deficit to 57-51, the response was emphatic as an energised GB seized their opportunity to impress with a ferocious defensive performance headed by the totem of Eric Boateng.

Macedonia v GB

“It’s a testament to the character of our team,” said Prunty. “How hard we’ve battled. I thought we got great effort from a lot of players and particularly on the defensive end.

“We’ve talked about being a defensive team first and then trying to push the ball and play with pace on the offensive end.”

Luxembourg almost shocked unbeaten group leaders Hungary but lost at the death with their visitors booking their ticket to EuroBasket with a 68-65 win.

Standings: 1. Hungary (5-0), 2. Great Britain (3-2), 3. Macedonia (2-3), 4. Luxembourg (0-5)

Game Stats – Twitter updates – Photo: Mansoor Ahmed

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