Ukraine’s size overpowered Great Britain 90-61 in their EuroBasket 2022 opener in Milan.

Not an ideal start to the tournament for Nate Reinking’s men who toiled defensively, particularly inside, and found it hard work to damage their rivals in the paint.

Luke Nelson had 13 of his team-best 16 points in the first half which saw GB quickly fall 17-7 in arrears.

Surges came, particularly an 8-0 run in the second where some momentum was regained following nine unanswered points from Ukraine which granted them a 33-19 cushion with 5:43 left in the second.

However, there always seemed to be an immediate response with NBA centre Alex Len dominant in stretching Ukraine’s lead to 42-32 at half-time.

And despite the familiar tenacity of Myles Hesson, who chipped in 10 points and 5 rebounds, the deficit could not be shrunk. Instead it grew with GB timid at times and lacking energy.

“As the game wore on, Ukraine’s pressure took us out of a lot of things we did and we turned it over,” said Reinking.

“And then we’ve given up 24 points off turnovers – it’s a hard thing to overcome.”

Svi Mykhailiuk, who spent last term with the Toronto Raptors, ably pulled the strings and scored a game-high 17 points with GB, who gave up a 19-2 run midway through the second half, now left to try and regroup ahead of Friday’s daunting clash with Croatia.

“We have to improve across the board and play a lot smarter,” said captain Dan Clark. “We know what our strong points are. I don’t think we we used them to our advantage today.”

From two-point range, Ukraine converted 21-40, GB a mere 13-44. Nullifying that size disadvantage must be a priority.

“I think teams are obviously going to be bigger and that’s one of the biggest things at EuroBasket,” Clark added.

“But I do think we have other other areas where we are extremely effective in but we didn’t use those. That’s something we definitely got to focus on and be very clear in what we want to do and how we want to attack and defend a team like Croatia.”

Later in Milan, group favourites Greece held off Croatia 89-85 in a barnstorming finish spurred by Giannis Antetokounmpo while hosts Italy overwhelmed Estonia 83-62 by pulling away late in the second period.

Game Stats

GB starters v Ukraine: Mockford, Nelson, Wheatle, Hesson, Olaseni.

Ukraine have scored 90+ points for the second time in their history in a single EuroBasket game, after having do so against Croatia in 1997.

● Ukraine have won with 29 points of difference: their highest winning margin in a single EuroBasket game in their history.

● Ukraine have scored 20+ in each of the four quarters for the first time in single EuroBasket games in the 21st century.

● Great Britain have lost their last seven EuroBasket games: their longest losing streak in the competition.

● Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has made five three pointers in this match: the joint-highest tally for an Ukrainian player in a single EuroBasket match, level with Sergiy Gladyr against Germany and Lithuania in 2013.

Photos: FIBA

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