Tough lesson for Great Britain

19 July 2012 / 22:08

Great Britain's men's basketball team were taught some tough lessons 10 days from their opening game at the Olympics as they went down to a heavy 118-78 defeat against the United States in Manchester.

Although they hung with the defending champions for most of the first quarter, the obvious talent gap between the two teams became apparent thereafter as the Americans entertained the sell-out crowd with some spectacular play.

Britain got the first points of the game when Joel Freeland made space inside, but it was the only lead of the game they would enjoy as the United States responded with a dunk from Kevin Durant and a three-pointer from Deron Williams.

Britain at least stayed with the Americans, with back-to-back dunks from Pops Mensah-Bonsu making it 13-10 with 4:22 to go in the first. The Americans were already attempting some party tricks for a receptive crowd, but Durant missed a dunk while LeBron James got lucky as an attempted alley-oop pass went in.

The gap was again back to three when Kyle Johnson sank a pair of free throws to make it 23-20 late in the first, but the Americans responded with the 14-0 run, scoring quick points off turnovers as their pressure told.

A fightback had the gap within single figures when Mensah-Bonsu split a pair of free throws to make it 40-31, but it was a brief respite as the Americans built a 55-37 lead by half-time.

Aside from that one scoring streak, Britain had stuck with the Americans in the opening 20 minutes, but it was a different story after the break. After Freeland got the first points of the second half, Williams hit three straight threes to carry the United States 25 points clear, 66-41. Freeland recovered moments later with a nice move for two.

But Williams kept the threes raining in and a big slam from James made it 75-46. It was turning into a blow-out, but not everything fell for the United States as James missed an open dunk. As the fourth quarter began, the Americans took their lead to the 40-point mark on a slam from Anthony Davis, his first points of the game.

A three-pointer from James Harden took the Americans into triple figures before the American team took it in turn to score dunks in the closing minutes. Deng led Britain with 25 points while Mensah-Bonsu had 12 and nine rebounds, and Andrew Sullivan had 11 points, all in the final quarter.

Ogo Adegboye, the final cut from the Olympic squad, was also given some minutes as the 13th player, and made his mark with a late three. Williams and Anthony had 19 points each for the Americans, while LeBron James added 16. The turnovers told a big part of the story, with Great Britain giving up 26 to the United States' nine.