With just a few days until GB face France and Montenegro in the latest EuroBasket 2022 qualifiers, here’s a recap of how we arrived at the EuroBasket qualifiers.
We began our qualifying two years ago in the Second Round of FIBA’s EuroBasket Pre-Qualifiers, drawn into Group D with Austria and Cyprus.
The first game saw the team lose for the first – and only – time during the pre-qualifiers as Austria recorded a 96-82 win in Manchester. A few days later we righted the wrong, travelling to Nicosia and claiming a 75-61 victory over hosts Cyprus.
Cyprus travelled to Manchester for the first of February’s double-header and a great defensive display saw the team earn an 84-47 win. In the group’s final game we travelled to Austria, needing a 15-point victory to book our place in the qualifiers.
We came out on top in a tight game – 78-75 – led by Ovie Soko’s 19 points. However, it was Austria who progressed to the qualifiers on head-to-head points difference, leaving us to fight for our place in the third round of pre-qualifying.
The Third Round took place in August last year, GB facing Luxembourg and Kosovo in Group G of FIBA’s EuroBasket Pre-Qualifiers.
First up was an important 71-63 win away to Kosovo. Gabe Olaseni picked up a double-double, 15 points and 13 rebounds, whilst Myles Hesson led by example with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
The opening day win gave us a strong platform to build on as Luxembourg visited Manchester just three days later. Hesson lit up the National Basketball Performance Centre with 22 points, whilst Teddy Okereafor impressed and Olaseni recorded a second consecutive double-double (12p, 13r).
The team made it three-in-a-row a week later, this time Kosovo the visitors to Manchester. We racked up over 100 points in front of a sold-out crowd, with five players scoring 10+ points. It was Hesson again who set the tone, finishing a rebound short of a triple-double (19p, 9r, 10a).
We finished pre-qualifying in style on the 21st of August, picking up a 93-65 win on the road versus Luxembourg. The game was an impressive team performance, with all twelve players seeing at least ten minutes on the floor.
Luke Nelson was our top scorer with 17 points on the night, however it was 20-year-old Jacob Round who stole the show. The youngster netted 4/6 three pointers to record 12 points on his senior debut. The win rounded off the international window and booked our place in the final qualifying round with France, Germany and Montenegro.
Our qualifying campaign began in Montenegro with a narrow 81-74 loss. The team fought back from a 15-point deficit in the third, leaving it all to play for in the second meeting between the sides next week. Soko marked his return to the team with 18 points and 9 rebounds and Hesson was as consistent as always, recording 20 points.
The disappointment of our opening-game defeat was soon forgotten as the team picked up a historic win over Germany in Newcastle three days later. A sold-out Eagles Community Arena watched GB take the win 81-73, with Luke Nelson notching 26 point on the night.
This week the team travel to Pau, France, for the latest double-header. We face hosts France on Friday night before facing Montenegro for the second time on Sunday. Both games will be streamed live on YouTube and both tip at 5pm GMT.
With each team going 1/1 in February, Group G is wide open as we travel to the bubble!