Great Britain capped a remarkable EuroBasket qualification campaign with a stunning 94-73 victory over France in Podgorica.
After sealing their passage to the 2022 Finals following a brilliant win over Germany on Saturday, Marc Steutel’s men recorded another amazing high point.
France – sixth in the world – became the highest-ranked team GB have ever beaten. And they were well beaten.
With qualification to the 2022 EuroBasket confirmed by Saturday’s narrow win over the Germans and France’s against Montenegro, GB were effectively playing for pride in this final group game.
They came away with plenty of that – and a thoroughly-deserved win.
They started with the same five – Luke Nelson, Teddy Okereafor, Ben Mockford, Myles Hesson, Gabe Olaseni – and made another strong opening.
A composed first quarter saw them open up a 26-16 lead going into the second, with Olaseni (7) and Mockford (5) keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
In the second quarter Ovie Soko came alive, scoring 12 points and drawing fouls to help increase GB’s advantage to as much as 23 points and to 52-35 at the half.
A scrappy opening to the third saw France chip away at the lead before Soko extended it back to 20 with a three.
They went into the fourth 73-55 up held their nerve to push their advantage to a 94-73 final scoreline following a period marked by stunning dunks from Tarik Phillip and Soko.
Soko led the GB charge with 27 points while Hesson had 23 and Nelson 14 as GB finished with the same 4-2 record as group winners France.
Marc Steutel said:
“We were physically and mentally locked in and I feel like we have been all week and that translated onto the floor.
“They had 35 points at the half and that’s as good a half defensively as GB have had.
“When we’re locked in like that defensively, the offence kind of looks after itself. These guys really enjoy playing together, they share the ball, they don’t care who puts the ball in the hoop.
“We went 25/25 from the line from the line, outrebounded them – a really proud night for British basketball.”
Myles Hesson said:
“I feel like we can carry on with this type of momentum going into the next few windows. The sky’s the limit for us.”