GBR men remain on top of the group table after a thrilling game in Dubai against USA.
Written by Omer Hagomer
GBR won the tip off and Gregg Warburton wasted no time to score 2 points. USA responded with a pick & roll to tie the game. Co-Captain Phil Pratt was brilliant at offensive rebounds and dispatched 4 points early in the first quarter.
USA attempted to overwhelm the commanding presence of Co-Captain Lee Manning, but he returned the favour on defence. Jorge Sanchez fired a three-pointer to reduce the lead as USA pushed the tempo on offense.
Both teams were trying to establish dominance on defence and maintain possession of the ball. Jeromie Meyer was razor-sharp from long-range, as USA led by 1 point halfway into the first quarter, USA 7:6 GBR.
Trevon Jenifer put up a rapid layup. GBR slowed the pace down and Pratt converted under pressure. USA made progress in transition, but GBR were well-connected on defence. Pratt drew fouls with ease and gave GBR a 1-point lead heading into the second quarter.
USA’s captain Steve Serio checked into the game. Ben Fox, Jim Palmer, and Terry Bywater subbed in for GBR. Both Brian Bell and Jenifer moved with purpose and gave USA the advantage, USA 13:10 GBR.
Baskets were exchanged in the second quarter, as Serio and Pratt found their shooting forms from the mid-range. GBR trailed by 8 points as Serio drained a three-pointer. They called for a timeout with seven minutes to go until half-time.
Manning, Simon Brown, and Harry Brown were back on the floor. Manning instantly showed the world what a picture-perfect screen looks like, and Pratt rewarded GBR with 2 points.
It was constant action at both ends of the floor, Manning found the space and flicked for 2 points off the backboard. Pratt’s fire could not be extinguished, the Welsh dragon kept GBR in the game and pressed USA to call for a timeout.
USA utilised the counterattack effectively and scored good layups in transition. S. Brown was energised, he collected rebounds at will for GBR, H. Brown scooped a beautiful layup down the middle. At halftime USA led by 1-point, USA 33:32 GBR.
Warburton was outstanding from the 45 degree angle in the third quarter. Pratt casually set the standard of excellence and Manning made 1/2 from the free throw line.
Time was a crucial element in this rematch of the finals at the 2018 World Championships. GBR derailed USA’s momentum with solid defence and Manning gifted H. Brown 2 points after a coast-to-coast assist.
USA were in foul trouble, so they made a few substitutions. Manning added another 2 points after an incredible offensive rebound. The fans in Dubai were loud and proud, they propelled Great Britain to take a 5-point lead heading into the last quarter, USA 43:48 GBR.
Shots did not fall for USA in the fourth quarter, they called for timeout with seven minutes remaining in the game. On the other hand, GBR did not look back, as Manning found his rhythm under the basket. Pratt added more points after a phenomenal performance.
USA were not ready to give up, they kept pushing and scored in transition. GBR called for a timeout with three minutes to go and James McSorley replaced S. Brown. The trio of Pratt, Manning, and Warburton pulled out the heavy artillery to extend the lead of GBR.
Williams responded with two 3-pointers in quick fashion in an attempt to close the gap, he refused to surrender and scored a layup after a clever steal. Warburton sealed the deal for GBR with 1/2 from the free throw line, full-time, USA 56:65 GBR.
GB Men’s Gregg Warburton commented on the win:
“A good win but we know it does not mean anything is secured. The same thing happened to us in the last [World Championships], we lost to [USA] in the pool stages, and we had it in our minds that we were going to do it in the final if we got there. So, it is a good win but just another group stage win, we are not going to celebrate it too hard, we are not going to make the highs too high or the lows too low yet until we get to the real business end of this tournament,”
On preparations for the next game:
“I think we started off good, probably did not get to firing on all cylinders like we would have liked to but some really good patches. We started a little bit slow but overall, our preparation has been really good. We are ready for the next game, I believe we play South Korea in the Round of 16, which is a tough matchup – they had a good win recently! So, we will be ready for that, and we will take it one game at a time.”
S. Brown, K. Marsh, T. Bywater, H. Brown (4), P. Pratt (30), G. Warburton (19), M. Edwards, L. Manning (12)
GB Men will face South Korea in the Round of 16, taking place at 3:45pm BST on Thursday 15th June.