Too Little Too Late as GB U20s Beat Czech Republic -

Too Little Too Late as GB U20s Beat Czech Republic

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.


  • 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.


  1. B

    July 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    How many different lineups has this group started with? And equally how many times has a player started one game and then register a DNP in another? Just interested?

    • Sam Neter

      July 18, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      Every game the team has had a different starting lineup, and those who have both started a game and registered at least one DNP; Lee Reilly, Will Hall, John Bantock, Levi Noel.

      Devon Van Oostrum, Alex Marcotullio, Alistair Mackay and Ryan Richards have all started every game, it’s that fifth spot that has been rotated.

  2. shattered

    July 18, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    All down to the Finland game which was a coaching and rotation disaster. So what if the team “were much improved” over Portugal – stats win games and the coaching team look like they were caught up in effort and commitment rather than what was (or more importantly) what was not working. Couple of statements made by players in the Czech Republic game!

  3. Pingback: Richards, GBU20s beat Czech Republic but failed to advance « Spurs World – "Everything about the San Antonio Spurs and more…"

  4. John

    July 19, 2011 at 7:12 am

    What a roster! The coach couldn’t get it right, but then when you look at some of the good rosters the U20’s have had recently they’ve all been pretty good and the coach hasnt been able to get anything out of them. Maybe if they had a legit 3man they could have got by.

  5. bob

    July 19, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Tim Lewis as coach has to go now, He’s had great teams int he past and never been promoted, now witht his team he should have won every game convinceingly , I have been coached by Tim and I can say his coaching wouldn’t and didnt enspire me.

  6. John

    July 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Me too and I agree bob but as we all know basketball in this country is 95% politics!

    • Azia

      December 15, 2011 at 12:39 am

      Thanks for introducing a little ratiaonltiy into this debate.

  7. andy jenks

    July 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    perhaps the fact that our point guard is currently leading the tournament in turnovers has something to do with it?

  8. GB fan

    July 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Interesting stuff on the BBL website, Duco van Oostrum giving a good run down of the action.,2306

  9. John

    July 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Dwayne wade is a regular top 5 in the league in turn overs so I don’t think it is!

  10. lemonzo

    July 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Hard to say we underachieved when considering our overall poor track record in youth basketball. Consistency and depth are key, as per the seniors, unless you have a Luol Deng! Consistency also applies to our national system of playing ball, like the mens football teams, what are our key characteristics/principles as a national basketball system? Unless youngsters have this, its difficult to bring diverse players from across europe, uk and college systems into a cohesive unit. Perhaps this is why players who are arguably European class were not able to perform consistently at this level?

    Time for Finch to set this out as part of a GB vision and implement a change programme over 5 years. A bit of senior mens success and some reasonable levels of funding will not turn things around quickly. It reminds me a little of how we expect major change in our institutions such as the NHS overnight. Change is not a quick fit and unless we catch up spectacularly with basetball nations, we must set out some key tests for ourselves as part of a longer term vision. Look at people like Jimmy Rogers and Humph Long, good junior programmes, with a consistent style of play taking over 20 years to establish. We knew what to expect from Jimmy’s Top Cats or Humph’s East London Royal, certainly when I played them in the 90’s.

    2012 is only the start and we should not forget the progress that has been made in the first 5 years. Now set out what the next 5 years should bring both on and off the court. WE are lucky not to have corporate brands dictating our future, we must not set out our stall.

    • Bones

      December 13, 2011 at 8:24 am

      Hey, that’s a clever way of thkining about it.

  11. bball fan1

    July 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

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