The GB U20s kept their perfect record intact over the past two days with another pair of victories, this time over Denmark.
GB U20s vs Denmark Game 1
On Sunday afternoon it was the Devon Van Oostrum show as he led GB to a 79-66 victory. With Ryan Richards looking out of sorts, Van Oostrum was simply spectacular from the outset as he had 9 points and 2 assists in the opening period alone whilst putting the 6’10 Danish centre on a poster and dropping guards left right and centre.
Van Oostrum was quieter in the second period as GB went into the half down 39-32. A 16-0 run in the second half of the third period sparked by Devon and Northwestern guard Alex Marcotullio culminated in a Will Saunders three pointer at the third quarter buzzer to put GB up 56-50.
It was plainsailing from there as the U20s side retained their undefeated title.
Devon Van Oostrum finished with 23 points on 8/15 shooting, going 5/7 at the line whilst adding 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. Alex Marcotullio added 13 points going 3/5 from deep in just 21 minutes, Will Saunders had 12, and Ali Fraser joined them in double figures with 10 points and 5 rebounds in 18 minutes. Adam Thoseby and Levi Noel added 7 points-a-peice.
Denmark were led by 20 points and 9 rebounds from Thomas Laerke with Jonas Zohore Bergstedt adding 16 and 11 boards.
GB U20s vs Denmark Game 2
Monday evening was a different story as San Antonio Spurs draft pick Ryan Richards came out on a mission. Tweeting simply ’40’ half an hour before tip off, Richards made his intention clear as he proved to the Danes what a dominant force he can be, coming two short of his target on his way to a 38 point performance as GB beat Denmark 70-58.
With foul trouble limiting Devon Van Oostrum to just 7 first half minutes (21 for the game), Richards took the weight on his shoulders as Denmark could do little to stop him. Hitting from inside and out whilst drawing fouls, they had no answer for the 7 footer who finished with a 45 efficiency rating.
Despite Ryan’s dominance the Danes remained close throughout after an overall underwhelming performance from GB as they led just 51-49 goin into the final period. With Devon Van Oostrum getting called for a questionable fourth foul just 30 seconds into the quarter, things were not going to be easy for GB.
With Richards keeping them close, Van Oostrum checked back in with 3 minutes remaining in the game and helped seal it, making two free throws off an intentional foul call and then hitting Will Saunders with a pretty bounce pass for a baseline dunk to put the British side up 66-58 with 2 minutes left and close it out.
Richards shot 12/23 from the field (1/5 from three) and 13/16 at the line whilst adding 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 steals. Van Oostrum added 12 points (10/10 at the line), 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal, whilst Adam Thoseby had 7 and Ali Fraser added 6 points and 7 rebounds.
Thomas Laerke led Denmark with a 20 point-15 rebound double double adding 3 blocks.
GB U20 Head Coach Tim Lewis had this to say after the two game series:
“We’re pleased with how it’s going, but there’s still a lot of stuff to work on. We’re still relatively backward in terms of contact time with the kids, but eight and nine point quarters against Denmark shows the resolve we have. We’ve done that two nights in a row now.
“It was a better performance from Ryan (Richards) in terms of his leadership and all round game tonight (Monday), and we’re going in the right direction – that’s the important thing.”
GB now have a rest day, before taking on Belgium on Wednesday (6pm tip) and Thursday (3pm tip) at the Braintree Campus, Colchester.
- GB Starters on Sunday-Van Oostrum, Marcotullio, Hall, Richards, Goldsbrough, on Monday it was the same but with John Bantock replacing Alex Marcotullio who sat out with a calf injury.
- On Sunday there was some experimentation with Marcotullio running the point and Devon playing the 2, something I think Tim Lewis will look to do at the Europeans.
- Marcotullio makes a huge difference to the team, being a legitimate three point threat as well as being ever present on defence. Was only credited with 2 steals on Sunday but had a number of deflections leading to fast break opportunities.
- Both Ali Fraser and Will Hall were the unsung heroes of the team, doing a lot of the little things that make a huge difference. Fraser is a big body who rebounds well, has nice footwork and good hands whilst Hall played well defensively on both days.
- Rebounding and defense are both areas where the team looked weak at times. When you consider GB has been a lot larger than any of the teams they have faced so far, it makes it a little more worrying.
- Head Coach Tim Lewis said after the game he is still looking at which units work best together and wants more from the bench.
- We’ve all seen the Devon Van Oostrum dunk, but it was one of many highlights he had on Sunday. A few minutes after the poster, he made his defender fall, looked down at him then swished an 18 foot jumpshot from the baseline. Nasty.
Did you make it down to the games? Thoughts?