Great Britain failed to advance into the second round of the EuroBasket Men 2013 after suffering a disappointing 87-68 loss against Ukraine on Monday night in the final day of preliminary round action in Slovenia.
The Brits managed to stay within striking distance in the first period of the match that ended with Ukraine on top by three points, 21-19. However, Ukraine jumped on the gun in the second period, outscoring Great Britain 27-13 to take full control of the match.
Ukraine, who is coached by well-known American bench tactician Mike Fratello, led by as much as 22 points in the third period and they never looked back, cruising to the huge victory that put them in a good position heading into the second round of competition.
Kyryl Natyazhko and Ihor Zaytsev spearheaded the balance offensive attack of Ukraine with 11 points apiece, while Eugene Jeter and Olexandr added 10 points each. Sergii Gladyr had an all-around performance with nine points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
On the other hand, Devon Van Oostrum and Kieron Achara led Great Britain with 12 points apiece, while Andrew Lawrence chipped in 10 points in a losing effort.
“We battled once the game got going, but we needed to get it from the start. We got our rhythm back, cut it to one but in the second quarter it was tough for us. I was proud of the fight we had in the second half, our guys tried to compete. We were trying to pressure, trying to get more possessions in the game. But it was a great effort by Ukraine,” said Great Britain coach Joe Prunty.
Despite suffering an early exit in this year’s European championship, the team refused to dwell on the negative side of their loss. Instead, they looked towards the future with Achara saying that British basketball could be a major contender in the world with the emergence of youngsters like Myles Hesson, Van Oostrum, and Lawrence.