- National Teams
Great Britain Under-20’s opened their preparation tournament in Portugal with an 86-63 victory over Belarus as they continue to build towards this summer’s European Championships.
Jules Dang Akodo led the way with 14 points and five assists in the win, while three other players also reached double figures with Josh Steel adding 12 points, Pharroh Gordon scoring 11 while Kyle Carey contributed 10.
“Positive start,” GB U20 Head Coach Andreas Kapoulas said. “We were able to spread the minutes, everyone scored and four guys were on double digits.
“However, still a lot of work to be done and we have two big tests tomorrow vs Sweden and Portugal. What’s important at the moment is the process rather than the outcome. We just need to keep getting better on both ends of the court and this tournament is valuable in terms of learning more about ourselves and building the consistency required going into the European championship environment.”
Kapoulas’ side made a fast start with the opening 13 points of the game in Anadia with Gordon scoring six points early on. GB’s lead was reduced narrowly, but they were still in control with a 24-13 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
Belarus cut the gap back into single figures, but were never within less than eight points as GB maintained their strong start. Dang Akodo was the first player into double figures and was joined on 10 points bySteel after his 3-pointer on the buzzer handed his side a 45-34 lead at the half-time break.
GB came out firing once more when play resumed with Carey scoring the first eight points in a 10-2 run before the gap was stretched to beyond 20 points midway through the third period as Andre Arissol made consecutive baskets.
Heading into the final quarter, GB had a commanding 64-46 advantage and Kingsley Nwagboso quickly scored his first points of the night, courtesy of a fifth assist from Dang Akodo.
Sam Idowu soon followed with a score of his own to mark all 12 players registering points on the scoresheet with Kapoulas able to spread minutes across the bench to get a good look at his roster.
GB went on a 12-4 run late on as they completed a convincing 86-63 success to get their preparation schedule off to a winning start.
GB gave away just nine turnovers in the contest and shot 9/16 (56%) from 3-point range with their bench outscoring Belarus’ 39-15 in an all-round effort.
They return to action again tomorrow when they take on Sweden U20s at 10am before taking on the hosts, Portugal U20s, at 6pm.
*A reminder that Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye will join up from the squad after the tournament with Shaquille Walters, Theo Oghide and Sedale Hanson-Young also still part of the current squad (see here).