GB defeated by Croatia in Olympic basketball test event

London International Basketball Invitational (Olympic test event)

Venue:
Basketball Arena, Olympic Park, London
Date:
16-21 August
Teams:
Australia, China, Croatia, France, Great Britain, Serbia
Match times:
1500 BST, 1800 and 2030
Coverage:
Watch GB v China (1800 BST, Saturday 20 August) and GB v Australia (1800 BST, Sunday 21 August) on the BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only)

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GB push Croatia close in Olympic test

Great Britain endured their second defeat of the Olympic test event tournament, losing 75-70 to Croatia.

Strong first and final quarters by GB were not enough to defeat a consistent Croatia side ranked 19th in the world.

Britain's Joel Freeland said: "We couldn't hold it together in the second and third quarter but we showed a lot of promise.

"By the end of the tournament we'll get some wins if we keep fighting like we do. Every day we're getting better."

A bright start by GB saw them record the first score of the game on their way to a 13-3 lead in the opening four minutes.

But a dry spell in the second quarter, in which Britain only managed one basket in five minutes, allowed the Croats to take the lead making it 22-21 with 3:40 on the clock.

Croatia punished GB's failure to convert their chances and powered to a 35-23 lead at the interval.

Britain were better in the third as Joel Freeland and Andrew Lawrence netted baskets from the inside to cut Croatia's deficit to 12 points with 3:50 left to play.

Then, in the final stanza, Britain threatened an inspired comeback. Facing a 14-point deficit, GB pulled themselves to within five points through a three from Lawrence and free throws from Freeland, on his way to 22 on the night, to drive to a 13-4 run.

With 11 seconds on the clock and GB needing three to tie the scores at 73, Mike Lenzly missed a shot from the arc before Croatia's Krunoslav Simon netted his two free throws to dash the home team's hopes.

Britain head coach Chris Finch said: "All credit to Croatia, they played very well tonight and shot the ball particularly well.

"The guys did a great job. We're learning more about our team everyday, which is the most important thing for us at this stage."

It was Britain's second defeat in as many days after they fell to France on Tuesday.

The British squad were again without their highest-profile player, Luol Deng, who will not feature until the weekend's games against China and Australia.

GB were also without their other offensive threats Pops Mensah-Bonsu through injury and Ben Gordon due to family and insurance reasons.

In Thursday's games France play China (1530 BST), Australia take on Croatia (1800 BST) and Britain face Serbia (2030).

Follow Olympic sport reporter Jessica Creighton on Twitter for updates.

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