Great Britain Under-20s secured a 72-70 victory over Iceland on Thursday evening behind a breakout performance from Adam Thoseby, but it made little difference as an Israel victory over Finland earlier in the day meant the team will be competing for 13th-16th place.
Despite the win, GB finished third in Group H, meaning they will not advance to play for ninth place, and taking their 2011 Division B European Championship campaign from bad to worse.
Thoseby came through for GB, finishing with 27 points on 11/18 shooting, including the crucial three point play with 7 seconds left to give the British side the lead. Ryan Richards started off quickly, as has been habit of late, having 17 points in the first half, but rolled his ankle and didn’t return to the game. Alex Marcotullio had 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, Devon Van Oostrum struggled with his shot going 0/11 from the field to finish with 1 point, but added 11 rebounds, and 7 assists, Alistair Mackay had 5 points and 6 rebounds, whilst Lee Goldsbrough added 5 and 3 rebounds.
Iceland came out with intent, taking a 19-10 on GB just 5 minutes into the game, but a 12 point first quarter performance from Richards kept GB close, as they went into the first break down 23-17.
Richards passed the torch to Thoseby in the second quarter, who came out and scored 8 points in the first 1 minute and 40 seconds of the period as GB took their first lead, 25-24, on his second consecutive three pointer. A three from Marcotullio, followed by another Thoseby basket, gave GB a 30-24 lead with just over 6 minutes left in the half. At halftime, GB held a slim 39-36 lead on Iceland.
Iceland failed to close the gap in the third quarter, and GB entered the final stanza with the same three point lead, at 54-51. Iceland refused to keel over, and kept on chipping away in the fourth and their effort paid off as they tied the game at 69 with just 30 seconds remaining.
On GB’s next possession, Will Hall drew a foul, but went to the line and missed both as Iceland secured the rebound. However, Hall redeemed himself at the other end as he blocked a shot, then gained possession of the ball to give GB another shot. Thoseby hit a fastbreak layup whilst being fouled and made the free throw giving GB a 72-69 lead with 7 seconds remaining.
GB elected to foul to stop Iceland getting a three point attempt, Tomasson split them both, but his teammate managed to grab the offensive rebound and have one last shot attempt, but missed giving GB the win.
GB will now play Romania on Saturday as they try to salvage a 13th place finish.
- Starters: Devon Van Oostrum, Alex Marcotullio, Ali Mackay, Ali Fraser, Ryan Richards
- Thoseby and Richards combined for 31 of GB’s 39 first half points.
- Still seems to be an over-reliance on the three point shot, GB shot 35 of them today, making only 8.
- GB have to be hoping Richards’ ankle injury is not serious. He has tweeted he doesn’t think he’ll be playing again in the tournament.
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