GB take down Netherlands in opener -

GB take down Netherlands in opener

Luke Nelson GB vs Netherlands

Great Britain Senior Men took down Netherlands 98-94 in their EuroBasket 2025 qualifying opener on Friday night in Newcastle.

In the first game of what is considered a new era – with Marc Steutel taking the reins as Head Coach permanently, and GB legend Dan Clark in place as General Manager – the British squad made a statement of intent with victory.

However, there are still refinements needed.

GB, as has happened many times in the past, were unable to stick the nail in the coffin, seeing Netherlands erase 20+ point deficits on two separate occasions, while the home side gave up 24 turnovers, to keep the game close until the final buzzer.

“We know we let it slip a little bit in the second half but we kept our heads enough to come out with a win and that’s the most important thing at this stage,” Carl Wheatle commented.

With a free flowing offence in the first half, GB shot a blistering 58.1% from the field overrall, while registering 25 assists.

Myles Hesson led GB with 23 points, four rebounds, two assists and four steals, Akwasi Yeboah was impressive in his best outing in a GB jersey, finishing with 17 points and a huge clutch three down the stretch.

Luke Nelson had a 14-point, 12-assist double-double, while Wheatle and Sacha Killeya-Jones had 12 points each.

“Exceptionally delighted and proud of my young team,” Head Coach Marc Steutel said.

“We’ve had an evolution of a new group, a lot of the guys in the group who are experiencing this for the first time, at the infancy of their careers…

“Learning how to win at this group is a skill in itself.

“Do we want to play a cleaner second half? Absolutely, for sure. Credit to Netherlands, they did a good job of making plays to stay in the game but when it came down to key winning basketball plays, i was exceptionally proud of how my guys did that.”

Keye Van Der Vuurst led Netherlands with 23 points and nine assists.

“There was no connection between what we planned and what we did and how we performed on the court in the first 25 minutes,” Netherlands’ Head Coach Arik Shivek said after the game.

“I give the credit for that to GB, they played really hard, aggressive defence, diving for loose balls. I think they did everything that should be done in this competition.”

Box score.

The first quarter saw both teams trading punches with Wheatle leading from the front on his way to a seven point, five rebound, two assist period.

Wheatle started the second period continuing where he left off with a triple to spark a 12-2 run that saw GB take control, extending their lead to as many as 20.

A Charlon Kloof three pointer to beat the halftime buzzer helped Netherlands stem the bleeding, as they came out with a spirited effort in the third, pulling back to within five to set up a competitive final period where they had all the momentum.

Back to back triples from Yeboah and Nelson gave GB a 11 point cushion two minutes into the fourth, but the Dutch kept on coming.

However, GB made plays when they needed them to come through with the victory.

There is little time to rest for GB, as they now travel to Czechia for their second game of the window on Monday.

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