EuroBasket 2017: GB close to elimination after 97-92 defeat by Latvia

Gabe Olaseni
Gabe Olaseni (centre) again led the line for Great Britain in Istanbul with 23 points and 10 rebounds

Great Britain moved a step closer to elimination from the EuroBasket finals when they lost 97-92 to Latvia, their third preliminary round defeat.

GB trailed by 29 points in the fourth quarter but came back and even had an outside chance of a first win, trailing by five points in the last minute.

Gabe Olaseni led Britain's scoring with 23 points, while Kyle Johnson hit four three-pointers in his 18 points.

GB's next match in Istanbul is on Tuesday against group top seeds Serbia.

Britain had previously lost their first two games against Belgium and hosts Turkey.

They worked hard to stay in touch in the first half as Latvia's 7ft 2in Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 28 points, and Davis Bertans (22) lived up to their pedigree as NBA stars.

Latvia led 50-40 at half-time and stretched that to 84-58 at the end of the third quarter, by which time they had hit an astonishing 16 three-point shots as a team.

They then paid the price for resting their starting players as with Johnson finding his shooting range and Olaseni back in the game, GB hauled the deficit back to six points with 33 seconds remaining.

Despite their efforts, they were unable to complete their comeback and now realistically need to win their last two games to have a chance of qualifying for the second phase.

"Tonight we didn't do a good enough job of defending the three [point shot]," said GB head coach Joe Prunty. "17 threes is very difficult to come back from."

He also praised Olaseni's contribution at the tournament.

"Gabe is outstanding - he's been great four us," added Prunty. "The things he does to impact the game - he instinctively gets to his spot - you don't really need to call plays for him."

Top Stories