London News & Search
Great Britain were eliminated from EuroBasket 2017 when they lost their penultimate game, 82-68 against Serbia.
Teddy Okereafor led the scoring with 17 points, due recognition for his efforts as the team’s playmaker this summer. Kyle Johnson added 13 points.
GB fell behind to Serbia’s long-range shooters and handling errors in the second half to give them a realistic chance of making a comeback.
Their last chance of a consolation win comes against Russia on Thursday.
As against Latvia in their previous game, GB gave up too many uncontested three-point shots to the Rio silver medallists’ world-class shooters early on.
Serbia connected six times from long range in the first quarter alone, with GB head coach Joe Prunty telling his players in a timeout “their shots are like you’re not there – you’ve got to get to them”.
GB improved markedly in the second quarter and trailed 47-38 at half-time, having hit six threes of their own.
Their start to the the second half was less encouraging, four turnovers gifting a 12-2 run to Serbia.
“One of the little things we’ve been struggling with has been the end of quarters – we’ve had possession but we’ve not been taking care of the ball,” said Prunty. “Too many times… we’re turning the ball over, not getting a shot off, giving up the ball – these sorts of things can be deflating.”
GB again demonstrated their refusal to lie down, however, with excellent shooting by Johnson bringing them back to 55-65 down at the end of the third quarter.
Further GB turnovers allowed Serbia to extend the lead again at the start of the fourth quarter, however, and the deficit never dipped into single figures after that.
Prunty gave credit to Okereafor, whose 17-point haul was his highest score for his country.
“Teddy’s scored well today,” said Prunty. “He is usually high in assists for us too – he’s our point guard – but you have to be able to take what comes your way too, and he had some good looks tonight and he knocked them down.”
London News & Search