GB men's basketball fail to progress

04 August 2012 / 22:57

Great Britain's men's basketball team lost a 15-point lead in the second half as their dream of reaching the Olympic quarter-finals ended in a 106-75 defeat to Australia.

An excellent first half left Britain in control of their destiny, needing a win here and in their final game against China on Monday to go through, but it fell apart after the break as a 46-36 half-time lead became a 66-60 deficit by the end of the third period.

Britain got off to an excellent start, and led 6-0 on Nate Reinking's pull-up jump-shot. Australia, inspired by their electric guard Patty Mills, came storming back and a three from Mills made it 12-11 before Joel Freeland responded in kind.

Dan Clark then came into the game and hit the first of three three-pointers that had Britain leading 25-18 at the end of the first quarter. Australia started the second quarter on a charge, and back-to-back dunks for Aron Baynes sliced Britain's lead to 27-24.

When Luol Deng swished a three it was 31-24. Australia took advantage of a careless pass from Pops Mensah-Bonsu to close the gap to three when Brad Newley dunked but Britain quickly pulled away again, going on an 11-0 spurt to go 42-28 up on Reinking's jump-shot with 3:29 left in the half.

Australia came back in the final minutes of the quarter but Freeland hit a pair of free throws to give Britain a double-digit lead at the break, 46-36.

The second half began with Deng saving a fast break with an interception and Freeland scoring five quick points to give Britain a 51-36 lead, but just as quickly, Matt Dellavedova hit a three and Mills completed a three-point play from the line to close the gap to nine.

Dellavedova hit another long three and after Mensah-Bonsu's lay-up for Britain, a messy turnover gave Mills the chance to cut it to three, 53-50. More sloppy play then saw Mills tie with another three-point play, and another three from Dellavedova had the Boomers on top 56-55 and the Australian onslaught just kept coming as Mills and Maric both sank free throws.

A Clark dunk briefly lifted British hearts, but Australia were drawing foul after foul as frustration grew, and Newley made it 66-57 from the line. Clark hit another three to slice the gap to three at the the end of the third, but the period concluded with Australia having outscored the hosts 30-14.

Australia scented blood and were relentless in the fourth quarter, with Sean Ingles' shot giving them an 84-60 lead midway through the quarter as Britain looked powerless to stop them. Mills torched Britain for 39 points while David Anderson had 13 and Ingles 11. Freeland led Britain with 16 and Clark had 14.