Great Britain Senior Men fell to their fourth loss as Serbia recorded a 68-82 victory to seal an early exit for Joe Prunty’s side in Istanbul, on Tuesday.
With a 0-4 record, GB cannot advance to the Knockout stages and now play for pride in their final game against Russia on Thursday, aiming for a first win.
GB’s struggles to defend the perimeter were again exploited in the first half with Serbia pulling away to strengthen their own position in Group D.
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Teddy Okereafor netted a team-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, while Kyle Johnson had 13 off the bench with Luke Nelson adding 11.
Gabe Olaseni – the tournament’s leading rebounder – collected 13 boards to go with six points.
Serbia entered the game ranked 10th in 3-point shooting with just six made per game on average, but GB had the worst defensive rating of all 24 teams with their struggles containing teams from the perimeter particularly troubling.
Both teams were off to a slow start with Serbia starting 0-of-6 from the field, despite being allowed multiple second half opportunities. It was only a matter of time before they found their range and Stefan Jovic set the tone with a couple of triples with his side moving out to 11-19 ahead.
Okereafor hit his first three of the game, but Serbia responded with two more of their own to end the opening period up 14-25 having netted 6-of-12 from downtown in contrast to just 17% inside the arc.
Another 3-point shootout ensued – a trait that has become a regular theme in games involving GB – with the first four scores from downtown with Nelson producing a seven-point burst. Serbia remained in control with a double-digit lead at 27-39 before GB responded with a 7-0 run.
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However, just as the offence got going, defensive lapses proved costly and GB found themselves facing a 38-47 half-time deficit with their opponents shooting 8-of-17 from 3-point range even with primary scoring threat Bogdan Bogdanovic going 1-of-6.
Serbia eased out to a 19-point advantage early in the third with a 12-2 start with GB responsible for their own downfall with a sluggish opening and unforced turnovers punished.
The fight kicked in as the quarter progressed and Johnson would score the final four points to cap an 8-2 close to the quarter to cut the gap back to 10 at 55-65. Once again, though, GB were left with too much to do and were unable to make further inroads into the deficit.
Serbia edged out the final period 17-13 to complete a comfortable victory with GB’s search for an elusive victory continuing. Bogdanovic had a game-high 18 points to lead his side to the win.
– GB’s starters were Okereafor, Nelson, Murray, Clark & Olaseni
– Nelson returned having missed Monday’s game with a minor injury
– Dang Akodo & Josephs DNP
– GB have another rest day before finishing campaign against Russia on Thursday
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