|Bo McCalebb and F.Y.R. of Macedonia thrashed Great Britains begind 20 points and 4 assists of the playmaker|
F.Y.R. of Macedonia smashed the last remaining unbeaten record in EuroBasket Qualifying Round in real style as they battered Great Britain 75-56 to heap pressure on their rivals in front of 10,000 fans in Skopje.
While this result was something of a wake-up call to British fans already dreaming of successive places at EuroBasket, Chris Finch's team does still control its own destiny with one win against either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Ukraine enough to see them through.
With Bo McCalebb once again the heartbeat of F.Y.R. of Macedonia after finishing with 20 points, the hosts really did tear the British apart who after five straight wins, will probably be forgiven for having a rare off night.
In the early stages, a dunk by Mensah-Bonsu with three minutes remaining put the visitors 11-10 ahead, but the hosts finished the period strongly as they went on an 11-5 run to take control.
Soon the lead was ten points after a Darko Sokolov triple to forced a timeout from Chris Finch. However the same player hit another triple and Todor Gechevski also drained one from downtown to make it a 16 point game.
F.Y.R. of Macedonia were in overdrive and absolutely rampant as they stepped off court 43-27 ahead at the interval.
With Deng not his usual imposing self, it had been a tough first half and while the visitors made more shots after the break, it was still not enough to prevent the home team from heading into the last period 58-38 in front.
Any notion of a miraculous comeback led by talisman Deng were denied when Riste Stefanov sunk a triple to open the scoring in the last ten minutes.
While to emphasis the sparkling performance by the home team, especially from outside, they took the lead out to as many as 28 points.
Pops Mensah-Bonsu was the sole bright spot for Great Britain with a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Macedonia Guard Bo McCalebb:
"We are wery lucky for this win because now our team is so close to make the final step to go to EuroBasket in Lituania.
In the preparation for this game, we knew we must stop two very good players like Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsy.
We did this, and after this it was easy to play, with an atmosphere like here In Skopje.
I' m sending the very best regards to our fans for every move to help us to make this very, very important win against one of the favorits in this qualifications".
Macedonia Coach Marin Dokuzovski:
"We knew what to do in this game. We had a little presure, because we had to win this.
But, to be honest, I didn't expect a win like this with a very big margin in the final score.
In this case, I must congratulate all my players, first for their high desire to win this match, and second, for the phenomenal defense, especially against Luol Deng, who scored a couple of times only at the end of the game.
For exemple Vojdan Stojanovski didn't score one basket, but, together with Riste Stefanov has a very big part of our success in this game.
On the other side, in the offensive moves, we wanted to stop Mensah-Bonsy to come outside, nearly to table, because he is a very good rebounder.
Finaly its to hard to lose in front of 10.000 people to come to see our best perfomances in this run to Lituania."
Great Britain Head Coach Chris Finch:
First of all I want to congratulated the home team, who played very well. Especialy on offense. They made too many shoots.
Unfortunatly, we didn't play good. We had some chances, but we lost concentration. This things happen. But overal in this game, we didn't play good basketball, on a high level.
The Macedonians played so aggressive, always pushed us to make mistakes."