GB U20s Suffer Devastating Loss to Finland -

GB U20s Suffer Devastating Loss to Finland

GB U20s basketball vs Finland
Great Britain Under-20s suffered a devastating 72-68 loss to Finland this evening, all but dashing their hopes of advancing to the next round of the Division B European Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

Despite a huge game from Ryan Richards, who finished with 28 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocked shots, GB could do little to stop Finland’s guard penetration and once again struggled with turnovers as they fell to their second loss in as many days.

Finland’s guard duo Antto Nikkarinen and Villematti Kopio were unstoppable for Finland, finishing with 56 of the Fins 72 points whilst sealing the game in crunch time.

As Richards went 2/2 at the line to tie the game at 68 with 29 seconds left, Nikkarinen hit a layup with just 11 seconds remaining to give Finland the lead, before Kopio stole the ball off a bad Van Oostrum pass and broke-away to score on the other end to give them a five point cushion with 1 second remaining. Game.

Despite the loss, head coach Tim Lewis remained positive:

“It was a much improved team performance, and despite the loss, I think we bounced back after yesterday’s game.

“I salute Ryan’s performance, not just for his points, but he listened to what we said after Thursday’s game. We’re still in with a chance of going through to the quarter-finals.”

Ali Mackay had 10 points and 8 rebounds, Alex Marcotullio added 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals, whilst Devon Van Oostrum finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds and Alasdair Fraser had 4 points and 7 rebounds in limited minutes.

Ali Mackay got GB on the scoreboard early with a tip in off a Devon Van Oostrum miss to tie the game at 2-2 just under a minute in. GB looked in control early as Ryan Richards put GB up 11-6 midway through the opening period,  but that was the last time they’d score before the break as Finland went on a 11-0 run to finish the quarter, going up 17-11 to start the second quarter.

GB came out in the second quarter firing, going on a 11-5 run sparked by Richards and two threes from Marcotullio, managing to re-take the lead at 22-21 two and a half minutes on an Ali Fraser basket from a Richards assist.

6 points from Richards and 2 from Fraser gave GB a seven point cushion, leading 30-23, but once again the Fins responded with a 11-0 run to take a 34-30 lead two minutes before halftime.

GB managed to claw it back somewhat, but went into the halftime break down two, 38-36, behind 13 points from Ryan Richards. Finland’s point guard, Nikkarinen and Kopio had combined for 29 of Finland’s 38 points.

Van Oostrum connected with Richards out of halftime to tie the game up at 38 just 20 seconds in, but Kopio responded to give Finland  two point lead once more. GB kept it close throughout the third, and Marcotullio drained a 3 just before the end of the quarter to tied it up at 56.

With it all to play for in the fourth, it was Finland who came out with fire, going on a 6-0 run to open the quarter as they capitalised on turnovers from Fraser and Marcotullio. GB refused to relent however, as a basket from Richards followed by a three from Van Oostrum brought them right back in it, down 62-61 with 5 minutes left to play.

Nikkarinen drained another three, before Marcotullio went 1/2 at the line to reduced the deficit to three,  as Finland led 65-62 going into the final four minutes.

After a couple of empty exchanges, Ali Mackay scored off a Richards assist to bring GB within 1 with two and a half minutes left to play. Finland failed to capitalise on GB’s inability to defend and managed just 1/4 free throw shooting over the next minute and a half, giving them a slim 66-64 with 1 minute 13 seconds remaining.

Out of a GB timeout, Richards drew the foul and made both at the line to tie the game at 66 but Nikkarinen responded immediately with a layup at the other end to give Finland a 68-66 lead with 43 seconds left. Van Oostrum missed at the other end but GB secured the offensive rebound and Richards drew another foul, he once again made them both taking his personal tally to 28 points and tie the game with 29 seconds left before the final sequence played out.

For full box score, play by play and statistics click here.

GB will now face the other winless team in Group C, Luxembourg, tomorrow.


  • GB Starters: Devon Van Oostrum, Lee Reilly, Alex Marcotullio, Ryan Richards, Ali Mackay
  • Rotations seem all over the place at the moment with previous bench players starting and previous starters being benched. The minute spread is strange to say the least.
  • GB once again were over-reliant on the three pointer, struggling to convert as they went 6/27 (22.2%).
  • Based on GB’s warm-up games and his production in limited minutes in both their games so far, Ali Fraser needs to be playing more.
  • Read Duco Van Oostrum’s (Devon’s father) thoughts on the game vs Finland. Great read.

Thoughts? Drop a comment!


  1. I like Basketball

    July 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    NO WAY…….
    This is the best GB team I’ve seen/heard of in a while and we Lose
    Our first 2 opening games.
    This is a massive blow. This was the most prepared team for this kind
    Of level and they lost. I’m shocked.
    Its seems the 93s are the only team that have actually shown potential of making the
    I guess we will have to wait for the 93s in u20s at full strength

  2. Coach Joe

    July 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    this is typical…they all got hyped after beating these bum arse teams in their warm-ups and when it actually came down to it no one was about the business. Funny how I haven’t seen any tweets lately with this whole #gold thing attached to them…these boys better be chasing reality instead of saying pretty stuff that sounds good to everyones’ ears. On a serious note though, how do you lose two games in DIVISION B when you have an NBA player and one of the ‘best’ guards in England (apperantly) along with NCAA Division 1 players? i don’t know about you but that really puzzles me.

    Once again, everyone believed the hype and nothing was delivered, maybe Hoopsfix should go to the airport when they come back to arrange some interviews….

    just putting it out there

  3. readingrockets24

    July 16, 2011 at 12:38 am

    i honestly think that these guys got hyped and started talking crazy about gold and division A instead of just doing the bloody thing i am a firm believer in “dont tell me just show me” and in my opinion they did alot of telling. that being said i think the squad needed josh johnson in the line up i dont know why or how he didnt make the team am sure theres a story behind that but having seen him play rockets 4 times this year i thought he was one of the better pgs in division 1 but also i think ovie would have helped, those two players could have helped alot in my humble opinion

    disappointing that they have lost 2 back to back games

    • Taylor

      July 17, 2011 at 5:31 am

      readingrockets 24 please note as far as i know it was not the whole team talking crazy about gold and div A (one player!) they won against Luxembourg which i expected because weak team and todays match i should think they have a chance of winning against Norway (also weak) test will be with Czech Republic. I do not want to go there with Josh Johnson, best point guard purrr!!!!!

      On the whole we have had a bad year for Euros all levels, it happens!

      • readingrockets24

        July 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm

        note i didnt say best pg i said better pgs read carefully in the future,one would have thought a team with this talent ryan richards devon lee ali alex would have still competed for promotion even without ryan martin josh johnson and ovie i thought they still would have done better than what they have this summer.
        i have to say the coach the coach has got to produce with all the talent he keeps getting but then we all know he aint getting fired any time soon.

        and have you noticed gb basketball always have excuses cant wait to hear them for this summer.

  4. JohnB

    July 16, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Just WHEN will the powers that be, or indeed, everybody else, wake up to the stark reality that we are way way behind nearly all other Division B teams (forget all about Division A)

    We have NEVER won a medal, but, if talk could win medals, we would win GOLD – easily!!!

  5. Shattered

    July 16, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Apparently Lewis thought they played well! 20 turnovers, guys making 16% and 23% and playing 34 minutes. Come on! We need points, we need shooters and Thoseby doesn’t get on. What the $&@! Is going on? Can’t Lewis see the stats or worse, he has no feel for them. The Thoseby kid flies the pond, gets picked up by USU, gets two other offers, comes back to camp GB….envy?? Worst thing is they were totally carried by Richards ( great game Ryan). Luxembourg next …. Big test !

  6. passerby

    July 16, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I think everyone is going overboard here. Two guys make confident noises about going for gold (you wouldn’t expect them to say, “No, we haven’t got much chance”, would you?) and they are seen as getting “hyped up”. And if anyone believed the “hype”, more fool them. Finland and Czech Republic were/are always going to be difficult given their recent backgrounds. However, we do seem to have played worse than expected so far, but the main problem appears to have been shooting percentage. Rotations are peculiar, and it is difficult to know what is going on there.

  7. De-Fence

    July 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Time and time again their small guys were allowed to penetrate the GB defence, in a lot of cases for simple lay-ups, a simple double-team on a couple of occasions could have made them made them change their strategy and put them off their stride. So frustrating, when they had only two scorers!

  8. passerby

    July 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    “………..when they had only two scorers!”

    Who were held to low scores today by Portugal, who seem to be better than anyone thought!

  9. Newcastle Hustler

    July 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    too much hype over NBA player whos barely been back playing long and so over rated, devon good but still young, Lee G not getting played but is a great player

  10. Basketball

    July 17, 2011 at 5:47 am

    I am assuming that both passerby and Newcastle Hunter are out in Bosnia watching, to be able to comment so clearly about performances! The live feed showed the team in positions to win both the portugal game and finland game – Marcotullio missed a layup to tie the game with 20 seconds and Van Oostrum turned the ball over with 11 seconds to go against Finland to either tie it or win the game.

    Newcastle Hunter – I am struggling to see how you justify that Lee G is a great player? Did he play this year at Providence? Will he ever play at Providence? Seems like a poor choice of school – absolutely no comparison to Ryan! Reality check

  11. lee goldsbrough

    July 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    to basketball…… why dont you show your name when you write something? in no way or shape have i ever bragged about being a great player or ever compared myself to ryan! you don’t know my past or how I have got to where i am right now! I went to providence to challenge myself the best so I can improve to the best of my ability and we will see the outcome in the future. Whoever you are…..mesage me on my facebook and tell me what problem you have with me instead of being a coward and hiding away!!

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