The Great Britain Men’s basketball team has not yet won in any of their test games heading into the Olympic, but the team continues to show a lot of improvement recently.
Great Britain looked poise to pull off an upset, but the former world champions and reigning European champions played big down the stretch to escape with a 78-74 win in their friendly game on Monday night in Valladolid.
Led by their tried and tested veterans, the Spaniards cruised to an early 21-7 lead, but the Brits waxed hot from beyond-the-arc to pull within six points after the first period and eventually took a 26-23 lead halfway through the second period.
The two teams went toe-to-toe in the third period and trade runs after runs, but the Spaniards’ 8-0 run before the third quarter ended gave them a 59-55 lead heading into the final period.
Spain took control of the final period despite several comeback attempts from Great Britain. The Brits pulled within three points and had the chance to cut it to one, but Spanish superstar Pau Gasol had a huge block against Joel Freeland that sealed their hard-earned win.
Pau Gasol had a dominating performance, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while his brother Marc also added 16 markers for Spain, who will also be facing the Brits in the 2012 London Olympics preliminary round along with Australia, Brazil, Russia, and China.
Freeland led the Brits with 15 points; Mike Lenzly added 13 points, while Luol Deng added 12 points despite the sticky defensive approach of the Spanish squad against him.
Great Britain will fly back home to face Portugal in a two-game series on Saturday and Sunday in Sheffield.