Basketball: GB stars lose again despite late rally

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Great BRITAIN basketball coach Chris Finch came away from a second straight loss at the Olympic test event focusing on the positives after watching his team fall short with a stirring fourth-quarter rally against Croatia.

Britain, featuring Dunfermline’s Robert Archibald, had been down 69-55 with under eight minutes to go but scored 11 straight points, including two three-pointers from Andrew Lawrence to make it 69-66 in the final stages.

Lawrence missed with another long-range effort that might have tied it and Croatia hung on to win 75-70, but the mood was positive among the hosts after the game with the start of the European Championships now two weeks away.

“We said the key for us to be able to win was to control the battle at the three-point line, defensively and offensively, and we were unable to do that tonight,” Finch said.

“But I thought it was a huge step forward from yesterday (an 82-60 loss to France). We gave ourselves a great chance to win coming down the stretch and the guys did a great job trying to dig the game out.

“Hopefully tomorrow we can take another step forward.”

Although Lawrence, fighting for a seat on the plane to Lithuania, provided the late fireworks, it was Joel Freeland who carried Britain for most of the night as he poured in 22 points.

The Unicaja Malaga big man said: “We showed a lot of promise given we’ve only been together for three weeks, it’s not easy. We’re disappointed not to win but we’re learning and we’re looking at the big picture. We’re looking forward to the EuroBasket to try to pull out some wins there. We’re learning every day.”