GB U20 MEN GET IMPORTANT FIRST WIN TO OPEN THEIR EURO ACCOUNT
The Standard Life GB under-20 men opened up their European Championship campaign with a solid 75 - 62 win over the Slovak Republic on Friday.
GB's Devon Van Oostrum led his side with 29 points, 10 rebounds and five assists whilst Raphael Thomas-Edwards added 11 points and captain Joe Hart had nine points.
Head coach, Douglas Leichner was happy to pick up a win in the opening game of the tournament: "The Slovak team were extremely tough and had some very good players, we were very happy to come away with a win.
"We have had some tough tests in our warm-up games so when the Slovak team came back at us in the fourth we didn't panic. Some of the guys hit some big shots down the stretch which allowed us to pull away in the final few minutes."
GB leading scorer Van Oostrum, added: "I'm glad we got our first win out of the way and now we need to focus and prepare for Luxembourg."
Zak Wells opened up the scoring for GB putting in the first four points but the Slovak Republic replied quickly and hit 10 straight points led by their point guard Oliver Tot and Michal Cekovsky.
GB responded immediately and went on their own run led by Van Oostrum to take a 26-18 first quarter lead. The second quarter was low scoring with both teams doing a good job defensively but it was GB that went into the half up by ten, 42 - 32.
GB started the third strongly with Thomas-Edwards hitting a tough jump shot to extend the lead to 12, the lead would get out to 16 in the third but the Slovak team responded and cut the deficit to eight hitting a three at the buzzer going into the fourth quarter.
The teams traded baskets during the final quarter with the Slovaks cutting the lead to six with three minutes remaining. However, Hart and Van Oostrum came up with big threes to take GB out to a double digit lead which they would not relinquish, seeing out the game and getting GB their first win at the European Championships.
The Standard Life GB under-20 men play Luxembourg on Saturday tipping off at 15:00 (BST).
After achieving a historic best-ever finish at the U20 European Championship last summer, Great Britain have handed the reins back to the same coaching team which accomplished this impressive and landmark feat.