Great Britain lost 85-71 to Turkey to finish third in their World Cup qualifying group.

Nate Reinking’s men were off the pace despite a promising start in Newcastle but still qualify for the second round, which begins in August, when they will face Serbia, Latvia and Belgium.

A tough ask, given how little collateral they will carry forward in the points stakes with a 1-3 record.

Now to rest up, regroup, and gather again – ideally with reinforcements – for the next phase, for the EuroBasket 2022 which follows swiftly afterward.

GB were forced into an early time out, trailing Turkey 13-3 as Shane Larkin speedily imposed himself with six of his 22 points arriving during the initial ten minutes.

Reinking’s reminders brought a retort, an immediate 8-0 run ignited as Jamell Anderson came off the bench, silencing a sizeable Turkish fan base in Newcastle.

Anderson’s lay-up to extend a 15-2 run took GB 18-15 ahead with 1:23 left in the first as their ball movement offensively and better defensive pressure paid dividends.

But Melih Mahmutoglu’s three-pointer secured a 20-18 lead for the guests at the close of the first and they would never trail again.

The second period proved more arduous for GB. A Patrick Whelan baseline jumper was the only interruption in a 9-2 Turkey run that pushed the visitors 42-31 ahead at half-time.

Too talented, too tough, the 2010 World Cup finalists – in Ergin Ataman’s first game at the helm – had answers for all that Reinking’s men could throw at them.

Aside from a vicious dunk from Kavell Bigby-Williams who contributed sizeably off the bench with ten points in five minutes in the third, moments of true vigour were hard to find, even as GB despatched him and other reserves in the quest for a spark.

Miami Heat big Omer Yurtseven had a three-point play that gave his team a 56-44 cushion and he extended the gap to 62-51 entering the fourth.

That deficit grew to the point of no return, the game closer than some had expected but not a true contest with Myles Hesson notching a team-high 18 points and ten rebounds.



Time now to look ahead for Reinking who will jet directly to Las Vegas for his duties with the Cleveland Cavaliers at NBA Summer League before plotting GB’s appetising slate.

GB are due to play their opening second round World Cup qualifier away on August 25 with a home date in Newcastle three days later that will also serve as the last tune-up for EuroBasket which commences that week in Milan.

Some have put their hand up here for selection there, notably Devon van Oostrum who had his best game in GB colours on a return long overdue.

“You saw in both these games,” Reinking said, “we were just finding ways to kind of hang in there. We competed in the first half extremely well, but it was the small things, eventually.

“We would crack a little bit and turn it over here to give up some points or a couple wild shots here and there, or the pressure would get to us. So I was extremely happy from top to bottom with what we worked with this week.

“And, you know, younger guys that hadn’t been here before who people hadn’t seen, it’s an opportunity for us to work with then for the future, and establish a bigger depth chart.

“Because these windows are crazy. And you never know who’s coming in and out.”

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Group B standings: 1. Greece (3-1), 2. Turkey (2-2), 3. Great Britain (1-3) – all three teams qualify for Second Round

Jacob Round replaced Carl Wheatle (personal reasons) from the roster that lost to Greece on Thursday.


Image: FIBA / Ahmedphotos

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