Great Britain routed Luxembourg 93-65 on Wednesday to end the EuroBasket pre-qualifiers unbeaten.

In some style and with a real verve too as the visitors secured what was a record seventh consecutive competitive victory as head coach Nate Reinking concluded his initial stint in charge with a perfect record.

Paced by 17 points from Luke Nelson, there was admirable energy and focus about his team, especially in a first half when a 21-6 run effectively extinguished any hope that the Luxembourgeois might repeat their upset at d’Coque of 2016.

And although it was effectively a dead rubber – with Reinking’s men already guaranteed top spot, and progress into the main qualifiers next year – there was much to admire about how a line-up that was without the rested Gabe Olaseni leant on its strengths and ruthlessly seized domination.

Now for the considerably tougher challenge of Montenegro, France and Germany – World Cup participants all – to earn a spot at EuroBasket 2021.

But if Reinking is able to remain at the helm, he will have learnt so much more from this contest and this spell of results that came after a rapid transition upon his appointment.

“It’s big,” he said. “It shows that this is going in the right direction … the next window it’s a different animal when you’re going up against teams from a World Cup: Germany, France, Montenegro. They are different animals.

“We’re going to hopefully keep this going in the right direction and put together a squad that can compete with the best in the world and see where it lies after that.”

Defensively, a smaller group fought well, holding their rivals without a score for almost six minutes during an early spurt of 13 unanswered points which accurately predicted what lay ahead.

Ashley Hamilton, inserted into the starting five, grabbed six of his 12 points within five minutes and there were ongoing cameos from Eric Boateng with the country’s most-capped player getting his first extended minutes in some time and collecting seven points, seven rebounds and three blocks as the guests controlled the boards.

There was alertness to how to utilise a turn of speed. Robert Gilchrist picked up a block at one end, bolted away and then saw Myles Hesson fling the ball into his hands for an uncontested dunk.

The pair were quickly active once again, Teddy Okereafor finding each in turn for alley-oops. While Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye had a rapid-fire scoring blitz that underlined how well he has fitted into this group in his senior debut.

By half-time, GB were 50-24 ahead and cruising and out-rebounding Luxembourg 28-15. A side transformed from their dour incarnation in Kosovo less than two weeks ago.

“We came together as a team,” Hesson asserted. “Last game we had 32 assists. This game we had quite a few as well. It shows the camaraderie that we have that we want to see each other do well.”

With no contest declared, there was a glimpse ahead in the third. Jacob Round, despatched onto the court on his first cap, did not so much announce his arrival but take out a poster and bring his foghorn.

The Fuenlabrada guard, GB’s youngest newcomer since Devon van Oostrum nine years ago, took just 16 seconds to convert his first three. Then came another, and then one more. All before the period was complete. Reward for the teen’s dedication in extra sessions in practice during this international campaign where he has done nothing but shoot and shoot.

It propelled Reinking’s crew 77-42 ahead entering the fourth and although Oliver Vujakovic, who added 15, ignited what passes for a brief retort with a 7-0 opening, it barely caused a scratch.

Luxembourg, headed by a game-high  23 points from Thomas Grun, were just biding time.

Round hit another three – ending on 12 points on 4/6 shooting – and the procession to a 4-0 mark neared its formal acquisition. Old stager Kyle Johnson contributed seven fast points to extend the gap and it became a matter of consolidation.

A satisfying end to a summer that could have left GB in a breathless void but instead has given the side back some oxygen.

“It’s been a huge honour to work with these guys,” Reinking added. “They’ve bought into everything that I’ve preached from Day One and they’ve kept getting better. It’s a short window so it’s satisfying to get four wins and get onto the next round.”

Game Notes 19-year-old Fuenlabrada guard Jacob Round, who had been practicing with the squad, played 13:26 and became one of the country’s youngest-ever caps, replacing the rested Gabe Olaseni.  Hesson finished with eight points, nine rebounds and four assists.

GB starters: Okereafor, Nelson, Soluade, Hesson, Hamilton

Final Group standings: 1. Great Britain (4-0), 2. Kosovo (1-3), 3. Luxembourg (1-3)

Denmark, Romania and Switzerland topped the other third round groups to claim places in the main qualifiers.

Game StatsUpdates


Photo: FIBA

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