Sullivan urges GB to step it up ahead of all-or-nothing game

18 August 2014 / 17:54

Drew Sullivan admits Great Britain men’s basketball team need to shape up fast or risk missing out on qualification for next summer’s EuroBasket finals.

Despite securing their spot for the last three tournaments, Sullivan and co have a tough ask on their hands this time around after they lost their second consecutive qualifier against Bosnia at the Copper Box Arena in London last Wednesday.

NBA star Mirza Teletovic of the Brooklyn Nets top-scored with 25 points to inflict an 80-67 reverse on GB, meaning a first home defeat in a qualifying match since 2006.

With only the top team in the three-nation group guaranteed a place at EuroBasket, GB must now win both of their remaining games to have any chance of securing their spot.

Against Bosnia, Great Britain recovered from a slow start to hit a 22-6 run and trailed 66-73 with four minutes to go.

But their opponents showed their experience to close out the game and captain Sullivan knows that his team must maintain their intensity level for the whole game.

“We’ve got to win games, we’ve got to improve,” said Sullivan, who captained the Leicester Riders to BBL Cup success last season.

“We have a week before we play again so there’s a chance for us to take a look at the things we need to improve so that we’re ready for Iceland, it’s a game that we have to win.

“We’re not playing against an easy team, Bosnia were a really well-oiled machine, but it’s definitely frustrating to have lost.

“We’re showing how good we are in spurts but we’re not able to do it for 40 minutes. When you look at the score against Bosnia, we were right in the game.

“If we’re able to do what we did in the last ten minutes for the whole game then this is a different result and that’s something that we have to learn as a team. We have to learn how to finish out games.”

Great Britain’s first task will be overcoming Iceland back in the capital again at the Copper Box on Wednesday before making the trip out to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

And Sullivan, who recently signed a two-year deal with the London Lions, knows it is not just for the team that the players need to perform for.

“The fans were amazing in our last game. They came and really supported us and got behind the team, even when we were down by a lot there wasn’t really a moment when they were quiet, which was great,” he added.

“From myself and the rest of the players we do really appreciate it.

“From my perspective, I’m really looking forward to being with the London Lions.

“I’m going to try and bring my winning ways down here, I know the capital in general is desperate for silverware and I want to be a part of that.”

© Sportsbeat 2014