National Teams

Too Little Too Late as GB U20s Beat Czech Republic

July 18, 2011 20:39 pm 14 comments

by Sam Neter

Great Britain Under-20s showed their record is not reflective of their ability as they secured an 85-74 victory over previously unbeaten Czech Republic, to make small amends for their under-par performance at the Division B European Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

It was a case of too little too late as the GB side were eliminated earlier in the day when Portugal beat Norway, giving them a fourth place finish in Group C with a 3-2 record, meaning they can now finish no higher than ninth place.

Richards had a dominant first quarter performance, scoring 21 points before finishing the game with 27 points and 7 rebounds. Devon Van Oostrum had 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, Alex Marcotullio added 15 points and 7 rebounds, and big man Ali Fraser had 13 points and 5 rebounds. Adam Thoseby had 10.

Ryan Richards came out firing, scoring 13 points in the first four minutes without missing a field goal. Devon Van Oostrum added a layup, and midway through the first quarter, GB were up 15-7. Add another three pointer from Ryan (16 points) and an Ali Fraser fast break lay-up and-1 and GB had scored 11 unanswered points to give them a 21-7 lead with 4 minutes left in the quarter.

Czech Republic responded with a 6-0 run of their own, before Richards (who else) hit another three to take his personal tally to 19 points and give GB a 26-13 lead. The Czechs once again responded, scoring a quick 5 points, before Richards got to the line and made two more free throws. Richards finished with 21 first quarter points, giving GB a 28-21 lead after the first period.

Marcotullio came out firing in the second period, hitting two threes early as GB were up 34-23 with under a minute gone in the second period. GB continued to pile on the pressure as they extended the lead to 14 points, 44-30, behind 7 points from Van Oostrum, with just over a minute left in the half.

The Czechs went on a little run of their own, before Ali Fraser hit a shot just before the halftime buzzer to give GB a 47-35 lead at the break.

GB came out in the second half cold, as they missed 4 consecutive shots and 2 free throws. Czech Republic capitalised, going on a 8-0 run prompting a GB timeout with 7 minutes remaining in the third. It paid off as Fraser dunked off a Van Oostrum assist to put GB up 49-43.

Ryan Richards scored his first point since the opening quarter as he drained a free throw to put GB up 55-47, but the Czechs run could not be stopped. They outscored GB 19-8 in the period, and went into the final quarter down only one, 55-54.

The fourth quarter saw a quick 5-0 run from GB widen the gap once more, taking a 60-54 lead but the Czech Republic would not go away. With GB holding a slim 76-72 lead, Adam Thoseby drained a three to give them a 7 point cushion with 1:50 left.

Richards drew an offensive foul on Ondrej Balvin on the Czechs next possession, fouling the big man out with 12 points and 12 rebounds and a minute and a half left to play. It proved to be the turning point as Czech Republic would score only once more as GB went on a 6-0 run to finish the game behind four points from Van Oostrum at the line and seal the victory.

Full box score, play by play and statistics can be found here.

GB will now have a day of rest before taking on Israel on Wednesday evening.

Notes

  • GB Starters: Devon Van Oostrum, Alex Marcotullio, Ali Mackay, Ali Fraser, Ryan Richards
  • Yes Ryan Richards had 21 points in the first quarter, but to do it on 6/8 shooting?! Shows just how good he can be.
  • Despite being outrebounded, GB finally shot well from deep (7/16, 43.8%) and took care of the ball, finishing with only 12 turnovers-easily their lowest of the campaign (previous was 18 vs Luxembourg).
  • Should be noted that Czech’s leading scorer Tomás Vyoral did not play, assuming he was being rested for quarter finals.
  • Adam Thoseby, who has seen no more than 10 minutes in GB’s previous games (and registered a DNP in one), was crucial down the stretch as he scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter.
  • Check out Duco Van Oostrum’s blog on GB vs Czech Republic.
  • Lee Reilly, Will Hall, John Bantock and Will Saunders all registered DNP’s.

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