GB Open Summer Campaign with Victory Over Puerto Rico -

GB Open Summer Campaign with Victory Over Puerto Rico

Great Britain Senior Men started their summer campaign with a win, defeating Puerto Rico 61-55 at London’s Copper Box on Sunday afternoon, giving the team a welcome confidence boost as they prepare for Eurobasket 2013.

Despite Puerto Rico fielding a second team, it was by no means an easy victory, with the game’s outcome not sealed until a dagger three pointer from Kyle Johnson gave the home side a ten point cushion with a little over a minute to play.

New head coach Joe Prunty was happy to get the first win under their belt but warned they are far from being a finished product.

“I’m pleased with what I saw, but we have a long way to go,” he said after the game. “It was great to be at the copper box, it was great for the Standard Life Great Britain National Team to get this experience on the floor, I’m really proud of the way we played but I know we have a long way to go to get better.”

Kieron Achara was named the game’s MVP, flirting with a triple double as he finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks, but it was perhaps Andrew Lawrence, the floor general from Surrey, who turned the most heads.

“It was good to get our first game under our belt, obviously we’re happy with win,” Lawrence said, as he had a 9 point, 3 assist, 2 steal stat line, controlling the floor in his 18 minutes. “There’s gonna be a lot of things we’ve gotta go back and correct now, but like I said, we’re really happy with the our first win and in our first game we can’t really ask for too much more.

“We made a few mistakes, sloppy turnovers, stuff of that nature but that’s expected in your first game you know. We just gotta keep keeping better from here, but overall with that win everyone’s confidence is just boosted to another level.”

Meanwhile Drew Sullivan, in his eighth year with the programme, was happy with the fighting spirit shown by some of the younger guys.

“There was no moment that we put our heads down, we got right back into the fight and I think that says a lot about guys coming through,” the Leicester Riders forward said. “Obviously when you look at the team, especially the starting 5, we’re quite young, we’ve got Andrew, Kyle in the backcourt, and there’s a lot of young guards on this team; all the experience is in the front court – with that being said I feel like they did a really good job of handling the pressure.”

Sullivan added 10 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, Kyle Johnson had 11 and Eric Boateng pulled in 10 rebounds with his two blocks.

GB will now face Puerto Rico again on Monday in a closed door game, before flying to Helsinki to play Finland on Thursday.

Box score.


  • GB Starters: Andrew Lawrence, Kyle Johnson, Drew Sullivan, Kieron Achara and Eric Boateng. No surprises Prunty went with the most experienced lineup possible. Justin Robinson and Ogo Adegboye were the first players off the bench.
  • Dan Clark, Jamell Anderson, Orlan Jackman, Gareth Murray and Liam Potter were the five players chosen to sit out of this one.
  • I asked Coach Prunty how much we should read into his player selections, starting 5 and rotations from today’s game – he said not at all and it’s still super early days.
  • Drew Sullivan said after the game that team morale at camp, now 8/9 days in is just as high, if not higher, than it was 3 days in on media day. Seems to be a really cohesive group.
  • Spotted after the game: Coach Prunty talking with Matthew Bryan-Amaning (who is meant to be leaving for Korea on Thursday) – it would appear as though the pursuit is still on.
  • Andrew Lawrence thought his personal performance was ok, but felt “down the stretch of the game I should’ve taken over a little bit more”. GB’s lack of a go to scorer is definitely something that could potentially hurt them down the line – will be interesting to see who steps up.
  • Game definitely didn’t finish as a sell out like expected, but still a solid sized crowd for GB post-2012.

Did you watch the game on live stream? Thoughts?

Image Credit: GB Basketball


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