07 Mar 14
With a growing number of British players involved in US college basketball, there has never been a better time to take an interest in the conclusion of the NCAA's regular season.
Eric Boateng led Great Britain with 14 points, supported by 13 from Kyle Johnson. There were positive showings also from Kieron Achara, who had 11 points and Devon van Oostrum with nine.
Afterwards, GB coach Joe Prunty admitted that the side had its defensive improvements to make and that there is still work to do ahead of EuroBasket, which start on September 4.
"Defensively, we had lapses, particularly late in the first quarter and into the latter part of the second quarter, so we had a stretch at the beginning of the game in the first five minutes and again in the first five minutes of the second where we calmed ourselves down, but those runs hurt us," Prunty explained.
"We had a good third quarter and we talked at half-time about getting the lead down to ten and accomplished that goal and we wanted to continue that in the fourth but it just didn't happen."
For Boateng, who has been getting solid minutes in these preparation games, staying together as a team is important at the moment and if GB stay positive, it will lead to better results.
"We need to look within ourselves," Boateng said. "We have to stick together and if we remain upbeat, it will lead to results. That's the good thing about these warm-ups, it builds your character as a unit and hopefully if we play a solid 40 minute game, it will lead to wins."
Johnson got the ball rolling for the Brits with a triple, but Sweden began the stronger of the two teams and a three from Jonas Jerebko gave his side a 9-3 side with 1:50 of the first quarter gone, forcing coach Prunty into a timeout.
Two free throws from Boateng narrowed the deficit to 15-10, mid-way through the quarter, but Sweden finished the first ten minutes on an 8-0 run, as they led 27-12.
Sweden added four more points to start the second quarter before van Oostrum scored to get GB off the mark. The Brits then attacked the Swedes inside and went to the foul line often in the opening five minutes. Free throws from Boateng cut the deficit to 33-22 with 5:05 left in the half.
Unfortunately for Great Britain, Sweden regrouped thanks largely to the duo of Jerebko and Taylor as they made sure that GB couldn't continue their momentum and the Swedes led at the half 48-29 following a buzzer-beating dunk from Jerebko.
There was promise for GB as they trimmed the lead down to nine points in the third, but before they could push on, Taylor had other ideas and Sweden's lead stayed at nine as the third quarter drew to a close, GB down 63-54 heading into the final period.
And it was the hot shooting of Taylor that sealed Great Britain's fate, as the Charlotte Bobcats player ended with a game-high 33 points for Sweden as they came away with the victory.