Great Britain suffered a 96-82 reverse to Austria in their opening EuroBasket 2021 pre-qualifier.

Sylven Landesberg hit a game-high 49 points and add ten rebounds for the visitors who top the group with two wins out of two.

GB, led by 18 points from Myles Hesson, now travel to face Cyprus on Monday.

But Alberto Lorenzo’s team will need improvements, and quickly, to resuscitate their hopes of reaching the qualifying round proper after a disjointed defensive performance that provided the visitors – and Landesberg in particular – with too many open looks.

“We are in a worst scenario than we thought,” Lorenzo admitted. “Austria did a very good job, especially defensively. We were tied for third quarters but we lost the second one. That’s the game.”

A 17-0 run that began in the first period was the foundation for a 34-16 second period bashing that left GB on the floor.

A 60-42 half-time deficit was propelled largely by Landesberg who reached 40 by the break with Rasid  Mahalbasic, who added 17 points, bulldozing his way into the paint.

Defensive adjustments came. Perhaps too late.

“We can’t allow any team to come in and score 96 points and expect to get a win,” Hesson admitted. “They out-rebounded us, got 12 offensive rebounds, I mean whether it’s one person or the whole team – they scored 96 points and that that was it for us, our defence wasn’t good enough.”

His insertion paid some dividends as the gaps shrunk to 62-49 but Austria’s guards manfully controlled the tempo and a 9-2 burst midway through the fourth erased any trace of even the wildest optimism with the hosts out-rebounded 43-30.

“We’re always going to fight for each other,” Hesson said. “Today we weren’t as good as we should have been but it’s something we can work on over the couple of days.”

GB will need nothing less. With head to heads significant in a three-team group, this was assuredly a severe blow.

Game Stats

Notes: Jacob Round, Kareem Queeley and Will Saunders were the three omissions from GB’s 15-man roster. Saunders is expected to play in Monday’s away game against Cyprus in Nicosia with Ogo Adegboye questionable due to club commitments. Austria face the Cypriots 24 hours earlier.

Landesberg had 49 points on 15/27 shooting

Group standings
1. Austria            2-0   4
2. Cyprus             0-1  1
3. Great Britain 0-1  1


Photos: Mansoor Ahmed

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