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Great Britain defeat Cyprus to keep ship afloat in Group D
NICOSIA (FIBA EuroBasket 2021 Pre-Qualifiers) – Myles Hesson and Great Britain kept the suspense alive in Group D of the FIBA EuroBasket 2021 Pre-Qualifiers, getting on the board with a 75-61 road victory against Cyprus on Monday night.
Turning Point: Andreas Sizopoulos fired in a couple of long-range buckets to get the Cypriot hopes up with a 17-9 onset, but it all went downhill from that point on, as the telltale signs of fatigue from their back-to-back started to show in the second quarter.
Great Britain swung the game in their favor with a 16-2 run in the middle of the stanza with Dan Clark igniting the game-breaking run with a long-range make and Myles Hesson and Teddy Okereafor stoking the fire with a couple of buckets each during the six-minute stretch.
Stats Don't Lie: The home side paid a hefty price for their ball handling errors, conceding 17 points from turnovers, as Teddy Okereafor wreaked havoc with 5 steals. All in all, Cyprus turned the ball over 17 times, while the visitors kept their number in single digits at 9.
Game Hero: Myles Hesson had his fingerprints all over victory, going 8-of-14 from the field for a game-high 21 points, while also adding 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He was also the top scorer for Great Britain in the previous fixture against Austria.
Game Notes: The result put the brakes on Austrian celebrations in Group D, keeping Great Britain in the running for the top spot in the standings. Having improved to a 1-1 record, the Brits can still slide into the top spot if they win both of their February fixtures and steal the tie-breaker against Austria.
They Said: "I'm very happy for the win. This team needs wins like this. Our first step was working on defense. We performed well in defense, especially in the second half. I'm happy for the work the players put on the court." – coach Alberto Lorenzo, Great Britain
"We did a good job in following the game plan the coach set for us. We couldn't change much things in a few days, but we could work on rebounds and turnovers, which we can control and focus on. We did a good job in rebounding and played solid defense. We made another step forward". – Ovie Soko, Great Britain
"[It was] hard to play two matches consecutively. We fielded a different roster and used a larger rotation, but it’s hard to compete against teams like Great Britain in situations like this. We were ahead for 11 minutes and competitive for another eleven. The opponent had more talent and experience though, which determined the outcome." – Linos Gavriel, Cyprus coach
"We started the match very well and aggressive and we put our bodies in the fight, although we had disadvantage. We tried to get points from isolation plays but it turned out that this was not the best choice. Congratulations to Great Britain. We have another game in February and we will fight hard, something we also did now." – Simon Michael, Cyprus