FYR of Macedonia gained a measure of revenge for their defeat in Newcastle nearly two weeks ago, with a devastating display against Standard Life Great Britain – winning 75-56 in the capital, Skopje.

Montepaschi Siena guard, Bo McCallebb led all scorers for the victors with 20 points – as he, along with his side, ran riot against a woeful British side – who were led by Pops Mensah-Bonsu’s 17 points and 13 rebounds. GB and Chicago Bulls superstar, Luol Deng scored 14 points, after only scoring three in the first half alone.

“In some ways, we felt this loss coming. We lacked focus tonight and we will have to get that back in Liverpool.” Coach Chris Finch said in the after-game press conference.

“We played better in the second half and got some open shots, but we just couldn’t knock down any open jumpers.”

FYR of Macedonia are now unbeaten in 11 games at home – which spans five years. For Great Britain, they must now beat Bosnia & Herzegovina in Liverpool on Thursday night – and hope results elsewhere, go their way to ensure qualification for EuroBasket 2011.

The visitors made a promising start to begin with, as Ogo Adegboye and Mensah-Bonsu gave the Brit’s a 9-5 lead mid-way through the first. But with less than three minutes remaining, the hosts posted an 11-2 run to give them a 22-14 lead at the end of one.

The Macedonians kept the intensity going in the second period, as Great Britain felt the pressure from not only their opponents, but the hostile crowd in Skopje.

The hosts’ lead ballooned to 16, as Darko Solokov hit back-to-back triples, assisted by Todor Gechevski – who also found range from beyond the arc. Young Matthew Bryan-Amaning broke the run for the visitors, but McCallebb answered right back to give FYR of Macedonia a commanding 43-27 lead at half-time.

The third was a slightly better period for the Brits, to start – as Deng doubled his tally with a three-pointer. But the Macedonians, focused on the win kept pushing on, growing the lead to 17, off a Predrag Samardziski three-pointer. The lead had further grown to 20 at the end of three (58-38).

The final stanza was a non-event, as a Luol Deng basket, sparked a 9-0 burst, which in the end meant nothing – as Great Britain tasted defeat for the first time.

John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net