Great Britain depart EuroBasket 2022 without a win, losing 90-56 to Italy in Milan.

Sixth and last in Group C. Perhaps a rock bottom for the men’s national team programme.

The inquest should be quick but also fulsome, about the performances on the floor – and those off it. Who could dispute a verdict of ‘not good enough’ in either sphere?

Not after this, with GB matching an unwanted EuroBasket record with Luke Nelson providing the lone score in the final period of this disastrous tournament.

“It’s tough when you score just two points in the fourth period. It’s a game of making shots. I thought we had good opportunities but they didn’t go down. And theirs did. It was a long ten minutes.”

On a night overshadowed by the death of The Queen, the Assago Forum witnessed what was likely to have been the first rendition of God Save The King before a sporting fixture since 1952.

A respectful moment of silence, then the business of salvaging a semblance of pride, even should an elusive victory prove beyond them.

It was, to no surprise to anyone who has witnessed the struggles over the past week of a group who have under-performed but cannot yet figure out why.

“It was another difficult night for us,” admitted Dan Clark. “Italy played well.  They switched a lot. They moved a lot and that caused us a lot of problems. That was the main difference in the game: their persistence and their togetherness.

“We fought as hard as we could. We tried as hard as we could for the whole of EuroBasket but it just didn’t go the way we wanted.”

And in what might be Nate Reinking’s last game at the helm, GB showed some welcome fight with fringe performers, Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye and Jamell Anderson, impressing in their belated cameos in their tournament.

Needed when their team fell 10-0 behind at the outset. Yet three-pointers from Myles Hesson – GB’s player of this summer and with 18 points here – and Ben Mockford twice trimmed the deficit to one in the opening quarter.

However a 7-0 burst propelled Italy 26-18 in front and their advantage grew to 47-37 at half-time as home captain Nicolo Melli asserted himself on his 100th appearance for the Azzuri who face Serbia in the Last 16.

No route back in the second half with GB outscored 23-2 in the fourth on 1/14 shooting – and the British Basketball Federation left with more questions than answers from this brief, and ultimately winless, late-summer campaign.

“It;’s probably just added fuel to the fire internally to the players,” said Reinking whose cause was hindered by just three brief practices before the two World Cup qualifiers that serves as their only tune-ups.

“This team did not perform at a high-level tournament. Hopefully, at home, they see that and look at what it takes to be competitive at this tournament with the preparation.”

MVP understands that Chris Grant, the former CEO of SportEd, has emerged the frontrunner to become the new chair of the BBF

Game StatsUpdates

Earlier in Group C, Croatia edged Ukraine 90-85 and Greece, already assured of top spot, demolished Estonia 90-69 behind 25 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Saturday, September 10
Turkey v France – 12:00 CET
Slovenia v Belgium – 14:45 CET
Germany v Montenegro – 18:00 CET
Spain v Lithuania – 20:45 CET

Sunday, September 11
Ukraine v Poland – 12:00 CET
Finland v Croatia – 14:45 CET
Serbia v Italy – 18:00 CET
Greece v Czech Republic – 20:45 CET


Group C standings: 1. Greece (5-0*), 2. Ukraine (3-2*) , 3. Croatia (3-2*), 4. Italy (3-2*),  5. Estonia (1-4), 6. Great Britain (0-5) *qualified for Last 16

      This was Italy’s largest win in a EuroBasket game since 2005 when they defeated Ukraine by a 37-point differential (99-62).

●      Great Britain scored only two points in the fourth quarter, a joint-low of points scored in a single period in EuroBasket history – Spain (v Turkey in 2011) and Czech Republic (v Spain in 2013) also scored two points in a quarter.

●      Italy made 30 assists in tonight’s game, the most for them in a EuroBasket game since 1995 – their previously best were 24 against Spain in 2015 and against Estonia this year. Italy is the third team to have tallied 30+ assists in a game in the EuroBasket 2022, after Turkey and Serbia.

●      Myles Hesson scored 13+ points in each of his last four games with Great Britain in the EuroBasket, after reaching that tally only twice in his previous six games; he made four shots from behind the arc in today’s game after making a total of five in his previous nine appearances.

Photos: Mansoor Ahmed

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