Great Britain’s U18 Men secured their Division A status for another season with a commanding 77-62 Round of 16 victory over Montenegro in Volos, Greece. 18 points, five rebounds and five assists from Mate Okros helped propel Coach Keane’s side to the win as they’ll now play for one of the competition’s top eight places.
After a tight opening to the game, GB were able to make some headway and establish a small lead behind six points from Tomiwa Sulaiman. Both teams traded three-pointers to end the quarter, with a Josh Uduje triple giving GB a 17-14 lead after 1.
The 2nd quarter is where GB would move out of sight, showing why they are a side to be reckoned with at this level. Time and again GB forced their opponents into tough shots and made them endure disjointed offensive looks as the defensive pressure began to tell.
On offence Okros came to the fore, scoring 11 in the frame to help his side cement a lead they’d never relinquish. Knocking down the free throw of a four-point play, the talented guard gave his side a double digit lead for the first time in the contest early in the 2nd quarter.
GB would continue to pour it on as the lead hit 20 before the half time buzzer. A big put back dunk by Tosan Evbuomwan put a perfect exclamation point on a 25-10 quarter for GB as they went into the main change leading 42-24.
An even 3rd quarter would play out with both teams trading baskets and GB keeping their opponents at a comfortable distance. Although Group B’s top side would begin to make life more difficult for GB on offence in particular, Montenegro couldn’t find a way to capitalise and the teams went into the 4th with GB leading 59-41.
Quick fire triples from Cameron Hildreth and Evbuomwan continued GB’s momentum, and with over half of the 4th quarter gone the difference was still at 18. As the minutes ticked away, Montenegro couldn’t fashion a comeback as Evboumwan ended the game the same way he ended the 1st half; slamming the ball home with authority as GB celebrated another famous round of 16 win.
GB’s Top Performers: Mate Okros – 18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals: Tosan Evbuomwan – 13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals: Veron Eze – 13 points, 2 rebounds: Tomiwa Sulaiman – 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals.
Victory means that GB will now face either Slovenia or the Netherlands in tomorrow’s quarter-finals, with those two teams set to play later this evening. That game will tip at 5:00pm UK time as GB look for a place in the tournament’s top four should they be able to grab the win.