Great Britain had a masterful performance in the first half but collapsed in the final quarter to absorb a heart-breaking 79-74 defeat against France in a test game in Orleans.
The Brits surprised the French with their torrid and relentless attack right from the opening tip, building a 43-25 lead at the half, behind the superb play from NBA star Luol Deng.
However, the half-time break seemed to have cooled down Great Britain and France took advantage, trimming the lead down to eight points heading into the final period.
With the momentum on their side after a sizzling performance in the final period, France slowly chipped into Great Britain’s lead, tied the game at 68, and eventually took the win after remaining composed down-the-stretch.
NBA forward Boris Diaw and Yakhouba Diawara led the French with 14 points apiece, while Nando De Colo finished with 13 points.
Despite absorbing the tough loss, head coach Chris Finch praised his player and remains optimistic about their chances in the upcoming 2012 London Games in which they will be playing in front of their home-town fans.
“We played well and to be honest we played well overall and we have gone a few steps forward now building up to the Olympics,” Finch said. “We have plenty of games to play yet against strong opposition so these guys are well on the way to being fully prepared for the Games.”
Luol Deng had an outstanding night, tallying 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Nate Reinking and Mike Lenzly added 11 points apiece, but it was not enough to compensate their late-game collapse.