Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016

Following The Games: GB Men 75 v Russia 95.

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Following The Games: GB Men 75 v Russia 95.

Great Britain’s men’s basketball team lost on their first Olympic appearance. After a strong first quarter, Russia posted a double-digit lead in the second period and then held off numerous GB attempts to get back into the game.

Britain’s own star Luol Deng shone brightly as he poured in 26 points and Pops Mensah-Bonsu added 22, but Russia always had an answer.

The sides appeared evenly matched with the scores tied at 13-13 but Russia turned on the style to open up an advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Britain got a little sloppy in the second quarter, struggling with their transition defence and, for all the emphasis they have put on taking care of the ball, giving away costly turnovers. Kirilenko and Alexey Shved were looking an irresistible force as the duo combined regularly to keep the score ticking over.

Team GB come stronger after the half-time scoring 24 baskets on the third quarter but couldn’t cope with the rhythm and the Russians took advantage.

Britain face a tough task to qualify for their group – which also includes China, Brazil, Australia and Spain – as only the top four go through. 

‘It’s going to be very tough to get through the group. We’ve just got to get ready to play Brazil. Our schedule doesn’t get any easier, we know that,’ said coach Chris Finch.

In Group A, Nigeria beat Tunisia 60-56. Meanwhile, GB’s next opponents Brazil earned a hard-fought 75-71 win over Australia while Spain defeated China 97-81.

Check here competition day results.

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