After stuttering to defeat against Ukraine in their opening game of EuroBasket 2022 yesterday, Nate Reinking’s GB needed to deliver a much-improved performance in their second outing of the competition and they certainly delivered for much of the game against a Croatia side stacked with talent.
Intense effort and hustle characterised GB’s first-half performance as only a late three-pointer by Dario Saric gave the Croats a 17-20 lead after 10 minutes, with Reinking’s side sharing the ball well and sharing the load offensively as well.
Croatia threatened to pull away at the start of the second as they got the next period underway the quickest, but GB reeled them back in and trailed by just six at the half in what was a very strong performance from the team against high-calibre opposition.
Croatia were ruthless out of the interval as they kept GB to just nine third-quarter points whilst contributing 35 of their own on their way to building a 32-point lead with 10 minutes to play.
Great Britain rallied in the fourth to cut the deficit and out-score their opponents by 11 in the final period to finish the game strongly, but that dry spell of scoring the third proved pivotal as Croatia ran out 65-86 winners at the final buzzer.
Despite defeat, the progress of the team from game one to game two will have encouraged Coach Reinking, and there were bright spots for GB as Myles Hesson led all scorers with 18 points, alongside five rebounds, three assists and two steals, whereas Patrick Whelan bagged 12 points in 14 minutes of action, shooting 71% from the field.
GB have a day to regroup tomorrow (Sunday) before taking on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Greece at 4pm BST on Monday in Milan. Use code ‘EUROGB25’ to save 25% on an Annual Pass to www.courtside1891.basketball, where you can watch all of Great Britain’s games at EuroBasket live.