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Group:  D | 06.09.2008, 16:00h
Group:  D | 06.09.2008, 16:00h
87-68
24 - 1013 - 1318 - 1432 - 31
24 - 1013 - 1318 - 1432 - 31
Venue: London (ENG) |
Spectators: 7500 |
Referees: Vicente Bulto (ESP), Joseph Bissang (FRA), Sigmundur Herbertsson (ISL)

GAME REPORT


Brits Bounce Back, Crush Czechs

Nate Reinking  left behind one of the most  disappointing defeats in his career in midweek by leading Great Britain to an 87-68 drubbing of the Czech Republic on Saturday in EuroBasket qualifying Group D play.

Reinking drilled four of seven shots from behind the arc on his way to a game-high 22 points for Britain.

On Wednesday, Reinking had fouled Meir Tapiro with less than a second remaining, allowing the Israeli to go to the line and make two free throws to force overtime. Israel went on to win that game in Tel Aviv, 102-

Luol Deng (Great Britain)
Luol Deng had 21 points for Great Britain in the win.
92.

But British coach Chris Finch spoke of the need for his players to focus on the future and not the past and that approach paid off big style in front of more than 7,000 fans at the O2 Arena in London.

Great Britain reeled off 13 consecutive points for a commanding 19-4 lead with just under two minutes to play in the first quarter, and they were never under threat the rest of the way.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who missed crucial free throws in the defeat to Israel, made four straight to start the run before baskets from Andrew Sullivan, Reinking and two free throws by the impressive Joel Freeland.

Reinking capped the early burst with a three-ball.

After going in front by as many as 18 in the second quarter, Finch's team led 37-23 at half-time.

The Czechs, winners over Bosnia and Herzegovina in their opener, managed to cut the deficit to eight early in the second half only for Britain to have a 55-37 stranglehold on proceedings by the end of the third quarter.

Much has been made of Britain paying a substantial amount of money to insure Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng so he can play this summer, but one man cannot qualify a team on his own for a EuroBasket.

In addition to the sensational Reinking, Mensah-Bonsu had a game-high 16 rebounds to go with his 13 points.

Deng finished with 21 points.

Jiri Welsch had 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Czechs.

COACH QUOTES


Quotes Great Britain vs. Czech Republic

Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Great Britain player:

"I was nervous coming into today's game as it's the first time a lot of my friends and family have had a chance to see me play at this level. I woke up early this morning as I wasn't able to sleep.  Just to play for my country at The O2 was so special. We were very excited going into the game.  The Czechs were big for us; they had a lot of difficult shots. I can't really say what happened against Israel, no one was to blame, but we showed that we responded as a team today."

Chris Finch, Great Britain coach:

"The Czechs are a good team, although this was not necessarily reflected in the scoreline. I'm sure they will challenge us when they play at home. I'm delighted for Nate (Reinking), as he was beating himself up for what happened in Israel, but he's such a strong character that it didn't surprise me how well he played today."

Michal Jezdik, Czech Republic coach:

"First of all I want to congratulate Great Britain tonight. I think we made too many mistakes and that was a problem, especially in the first quarter. They had good offence as the home team. But I think we have also learnt a lot tonight and look forward to playing them next week."

Jiri Welsch, Czech Republic player:

"We knew they had good players. They lost a game they should have won in Israel and we knew therefore today would be difficult. For three quarters we should have played better, but by then we had left too big a hole to fill.  We fought back for the rest of the game but it was not enough."

Accumulated statistics

50.0%

28/56
FG
M/A

32.8%

22/67

48.7%

19/39
FG2P
M/A

30.8%

16/52

52.9%

9/17
FG3P
M/A

40.0%

6/15

62.9%

22/35
FT
M/A

75.0%

18/24

42

10/32
RT
RO/RD

35

14/21

15

AS

12

13

TO

13

6

ST

5

10

BS

4

23

PF

30

87

Pts

68

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Great Britain

Great Britain

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Czech Republic