Great Britain’s hope of progress in FIBA World Cup qualifying look slim after a 72-57 loss to Belgium.

Big picture? There is a considerable catch-up being played by the Brits ahead of next week’s EuroBasket opener against Ukraine in Milan with the habitual funding and organisational constraints giving Nate Reinking’s men less preparation than any of their rivals.

It appeared to betray them in Mons – Reinking’s former stomping ground as a player – with the head coach immediately trimming his initial squad of 24 to 13 in camp because of the necessity for a fast track selection – with injuries to Ashley Hamilton and Tarik Philip forcing any hand.

Up 9-5 early, the visitors were battered immediately, ceding 13 unanswered points.

Belgium – paced by 17 points from Ismael Bako – would never trail again and, aside from a 20-20 tie early in the second period off a 10-0 spurt from the guests, they steadily pulled away.

GB trailed 33-27 at half-time but could find no vital surge, falling 70-51 in arrears in the fourth and struggling from three-point range where they converted just 25 per cent.

Myles Hesson had 17 points with Ovie Soko adding 13.

Game Stats

Sunday’s home date with Latvia – 111-85 victors over Turkey on Thursday – in Newcastle, in terms of the World Cup, is now a must-win. For the Euros, some momentum is needed.

Elsewhere, Serbia claimed a 100-94 overtime win over GB’s Euro foes Greece despite 40 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Image: FIBA

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