The Standard Life Great Britain men's team lost to Russia 76-54 in Houston on Thursday evening despite a very positive first half showing.
The Brits took the game to Russia, who again were at full strength but ultimately, the experience and overall depth of the EuroBasket bronze medallists showed as GB coach Chris Finch continues to evaluate his roster for the upcoming Olympic Games.
This game marked the first bit of court time for Pops Mensah-Bonsu this summer. He was in the starting five and played 10 minutes scoring two points. Surrey-born Joel Freeland led all scorers as he posted 18 points, five rebounds and four assists in a solid all-round performance. Freeland was helped along by Dan Clark, who got 10 points for GB.
Afterwards, Finch was happy with how the team played and the promise shown by all the players as the deadline for the Olympic roster approaches.
"The first half showed promise and it was good to get Pops his first minutes of the campaign," Finch said. "Russia played well in the second half. We'll build on this for tomorrow."
From the beginning, GB took the game to the Russians with Freeland and Clark impressing early, scoring inside as Russia's forward pairing of Viktor Khryapa and Andrei Kirilenko were beaten by the pair's quick movement on and off the ball. GB took a deserved 17-14 lead after the first ten minutes.
GB showed more potential in the second quarter as they continued to push the tempo and they went into the locker rooms with a deserved 28-26 lead.
In the third quarter though, Russia hit back with Kirilenko and Vitally Fridzon scoring frequently, supported by Khryapa. GB finished the quarter strong but were behind 51-41 heading into the last period.
In the fourth, Russia built on their lead, restricting Chris Finch's side, and in the end, they recorded the win.
Kirilenko led Russia with 16 points.
GB will complete their Texas training camp with a game against Lithuania on Friday evening.
The Standard Life GB women's side played their first games together this year against Belarus on 12 and 13 May and new coach, Damian Jennings, is pleased with the progression of the team after the first few days of camp.
Standard Life GB men's and women's basketball squad captains Drew Sullivan and Julie Page are back in London this weekend to promote the legacy aspects of the BBL Foundations work through Proj3kt 3on3.