DEFENCE THE KEY IN MONDAY’S CRUNCH QUALIFIER AGAINST CYPRUS
Great Britain men’s coach Alberto Lorenzo knows what awaits his team ahead of Monday’s crunch EuroBasket 2021 pre-qualifier against Cyprus in Nicosia.
Lorenzo’s side need to beat Cyprus in order to stay in the hunt to advance to next year’s EuroBasket 2021 qualifiers proper but knows that Monday’s opponents will not make things easy.
“We will try to focus on defence,” Lorenzo said. “Right now we need to show our defensive strength as on Thursday (against Austria) we did not have it. We must work on this.
“It’s not about offence, the way we start the game with 26 points in the first quarter (against Austria). So, it’s good for us but the worse news for this point is that we receive 26 points, and it continued so we will change for Monday’s game.”
Offensively, Cyprus, a group mainly comprised of players that play in the Cypriot League, have not proved as dangerous as Austria, offensively so far, but still have a strong team that don’t have a standout player but play well as a team.
Sharpshooter Nikolaos Stylianou leads the team with an average of 16.7 points a game. He hit five three-pointers in his team-high 19 points in their last game, an 81-71 loss at home to Austria.
Cyprus advanced to the second stage of EuroBasket 2021 pre-qualifiers by finishing with a 2-2 record in Group C, which featured Portugal and Luxembourg.
They are 0-2 in Group D ahead of Monday’s clash with two defeats to Austria, but competed throughout, taking the unbeaten Austrians to overtime before succumbing to a narrow 72-69 loss, which was followed by an 81-71 loss on Sunday.
“I mean it’s easy to look in and say something like that because you’re looking at the stats and the numbers,” said GB forward Myles Hesson, who led his side with 18 points in Thursday’s loss to Austria.
“But any day of the week we can beat any team that’s in front of us.
“We just need to find out whatever it is that we need to get over the hump. And we’ll get over it, that’s all we have to do.”
You can watch Monday’s game against Cyprus on FIBA’s YouTube channel here.
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