- National Teams
The Great Britain Under-20s suffered a 60-57 loss to Portugal in their Division B European Championship opener today in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
With expectations high going into the game having hammered Portugal by 25 last year, the performance that was required never materialised as GB were plagued by turnovers, and an over-reliance on three point shooting.
Ryan Richards got off to a quick start, scoring GB’s first 5 points, to give them a 5-4 lead 4 minutes in. Both teams remained neck and neck as they finished the first quarter tied up at 14.
It was Portugal who managed to break-away in the second quarter however, as they went on an 11-3 run, to put them up 27-18 with 6 minutes left in the half. GB responded with a mini-run of their own, but went into the half time break down 32-25 to Portugal.
Head coach Tim Lewis rallied his troops during halftime, and they responded, taking their first lead since the opening quarter, 38-37 on a Devon Van Oostrum three pointer with 4 minutes left in the third. They couldn’t hold on to the lead, but still won the quarter 20-14 to enter the final period down just one, 46-45.
GB spent the fourth quarter chasing the Portuguese keeping them within three points.
As Portugal went up 55-52 on a Cardoso lay-in with just under 4 minutes left, GB seemingly panicked and relied on three point shooting to bring them back in it, attempting 6 three pointers in the next 2 and a half minutes, connecting on none of them.
It wouldn’t be long before Portugal capitalised as Cardoso once again hit a layup to give them a 57-52 lead with 39 seconds remaining promoting Tim Lewis to call a timeout. Marcotullio was fouled, making both to bring GB back within three, 57-54.
Lee Reilly managed to steal the ball off a bad Portuguese pass at the other end and was fouled whilst shooting. He went 1/2 at the line to reduce the deficit to two, but that was as close as GB would get as Portugal sealed it at the line.
Alex Marcotullio led GB with 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals, Devon Van Oostrum had a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds whilst adding 2 assists, and Ryan Richards added 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Tim Lewis’ side will now look to bounce back on Friday when they face Finland, GB need a top two finish in the six team group to progress to the second stage.
What do you think about the game? What do the team need to do to get the ‘W’ on Friday against Finland?