GB’s hopes of a possible medal in this FIBA tournament were dashed 56-81 by a strong German performance in Tel Aviv this afternoon. The strength of the German inside play, with Philip Herkenhoff and Nils Hassfurther to the fore, produced enough easy scores at the offensive end and stops at the defensive end to keep GB at bay from the middle of the second quarter, after a close and cagey opening.
Both sides started nervously following their upset victories in the round of 16 games the previous day. Coach Brown rotated his line-ups, getting ten players onto the court during the 1st quarter. GB turned the ball over six times in the quarter, which led to German having seven more shots in a low-scoring quarter. Only in the last minute of the quarter did either team show any offensive rhythm, as they traded three-pointers, and a buzzer-beater from Jacob Brown gave GB their first lead of the quarter, at 15-14.
The second quarter was a more free-flowing affair as both teams found their offensive mojo. Although baskets were traded, Hosana Kitenge began to dominate, picking up points and rebounds with equal proficiency. However, the German offence was producing easy looks as they found space inside the paint, and a Coach Brown time-out with 4 minutes gone in the quarter was needed to stem the flow with GB down 27-23.
Greater defensive intensity from both teams slowed the scoring in the last five minutes of the quarter. GB kept the German inside game from functioning, restricting them to outside shots that weren’t falling.
Kitenge’s third foul, with 2.40 left in the half, led to a quick substitution, and Germany stretched their lead out to 13pts as GB were held scoreless for five minutes.
The half closed with GB down 39-27, but still in the game.
GB opened the 3rd with a Romario Spence 3 pointer to cut the lead to nine, but the all round play of Herkenhoff and Hassfurther extended the German lead to 13 and led to another GB timeout after only 4mins of the quarter. This did not slow the Germans down as they pulled away to a 50-33 lead on the back of good offensive play that led to easy baskets off strong penetration. At this point, only GB’s three point shooting was keeping them in the game, starting the half 3/5 from beyond the arc.
Another fast-break lay-up, which extended the lead to 55-36, resulted in a second GB time-out with 4 mins left in the 3rd, as the game looked to be slipping away. By the end of the 3rd, Germany had extended their lead to 64-41 on the back of 8/17 shooting and a 14-5 run to close out the quarter.
The 4th quarter was a disjointed affair. GB never dropped their effort or intensity, but could not find a way to cut into the lead as Germany always found enough scoring to keep them at arms’ length.
GB, lead by Nathan Robinson’s 12pts and Hosana Kitenge’s 10pts and 8 rebounds, move on to play the losers of the Turkey v Spain tie in the 5th-8th place play-offs, tipping at 2.30pm UK time on Saturday 18 July.
The game will be live on the GB Basketball Facebook page. To visit it, click HERE.