GB Men fall short against Spain
The Standard Life GB Men's team lost 78-74 on Monday night to Spain in Valladolid.
The loss drops the team to 0-7 in their pre Olympic warm up games but offers encouraging signs with a competitive performance against elite opposition.
Pau Gasol led the way for Spain with a 16 point, 11 rebound
double-double and his brother Marc also grabbed himself 16 points.
Joel Freeland was the standout for GB with 15 points and a 6/8 shooting performance
from the floor. Mike Lenzly had 13 points, whilst Luol Deng added 12. Pops Mensah-Bonsu also posted double figures with 11 points
and 8 rebounds.
After trailing early by as many as 14, Great Britain found a
way back into the contest and rallied to finish the first quarter only down 6 at 21-15. A three from Lenzly put GB up 26-23 as the second quarter ticked
by, but the Spanish responded as a team ranked number 2 in the World should,
putting a 8-0 run on the board and they led at half-time 38-32.
The third quarter, like the closing stages of the second
period, was a see-saw affair. GB went first with a 7-0 run, inspired by the
accurate shooting of Freeland. But as both teams traded blows, Spain went on an
8-0 stretch themselves and finished the third up by 4 at 59-55.
Luol Deng took some control over the contest in the 4th, aided by a timely three from Lenzly
and GB narrowed the score to 77-74 late, but a key block by Pau Gasol on
Freeland helped Spain hang on for a 4 point win.
After the game, GB head coach Chris Finch remained positive
about his team's performance: "Spain are a world class team and we played
well in front of a large, loud Spanish crowd. Foul trouble really hurt us but
we were able to stay close and then Pops and Joel had more of an impact in the
"We need to make more plays down the stretch to win against teams of this calibre. From day
one we planned to play the very best teams in our preparation period. Every
team we have played so far is qualified for the Olympics. This will serve us
well over the next month."
The team now heads back to home soil to entertain Portugal for a 2 game series in Sheffield
over the coming weekend, before hosting the USA in Manchester on the 19th.