Standard Life Great Britain ended their EuroBasket Qualifying round, with defeat in Dnipropetrovsk to Ukraine, 75-66. But it didn’t affect the Brits chances, as they had already qualified for EuroBasket.
Even in defeat, Great Britain have topped the group, as FYR Macedonia lost to Bosnia & Herzegovina in the other game.
Ukraine’s charge was spearheaded by Serhiy Lishchuk, who posted a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds. Pops Mensah-Bonsu led the Brits with another double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Luol Deng chipped in with 17.
The visitors started brightly – but once Ukraine took the lead, on the back of a 10-1 run. Great Britain could not look back – despite closing the gap to one point (27-26), following a three-pointer from Deng. But that’s as close as they got.
Lishchuk was instrumental in an 8-0 run, that killed the game, as Ukraine extended their lead at half-time to 42-32.
Deng was struggling to connect with his shots, and Ukraine’s lead grew to 14-points – and despite three’s from Deng and Flinders Boyd, Ukraine had answers to each o those field-goals. As the hosts enjoyed an 11-point advantage heading to the fourth and final quarter.
GB pulled to within six (62-56) in the fourth, but Ukraine had the answers again, and made the game safe, as the Brits started fouling.
GB coach, Chris Finch wasn‘t thinking about the result too much, instead concentrating on next year‘s EuroBasket, held in Lithuania. Finch commented: “We have a lot to be proud of. Not many people gave this team a chance to qualify and we did it through great effort. Our young players played well and gain immeasurable experience from this campaign.
“Next summer provides us with a chance to play against the best in Europe once again. I am looking forward to the 2011 campaign and I know the players are as well.”
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net