Despite being competitive for much of the game, Great Britain had to endure a second successive defeat to Latvia (68-76) at the University of Worcester Arena. Dan Clark scored 19 points and was backed up by Ashley Hamilton for 12.
GB senior men suffer second defeat of weekend
After a 73-77 defeat 24 hours earlier, GB's starting five included Paul Guede for the first time, joining Devon Van Oostrum, with Myles Hesson in the lineup alongside Dan Clark and Eric Boateng, as GB Head Coach Joe Prunty tried his permutations out.
It was the visitors who stretched out an early lead with two threes from Kristaps Janicenoks and Rolands Freimans putting Latvia 14-4 up midway through the first quarter. That provoked GB into an early timeout. But Ashley Hamilton got on a hot streak worth eight points and cut the gap to five by the end of the first quarter, 14-19 - in an exact reverse of Saturday's first quarter.
Hamilton had a strong start to the second quarter to make it ten personal points and when Gareth Murray made a big 3, the game was tied at 19 all. But Kristaps Janicenoks and Rolands Freimanis responded for Latvia to swing the advantage back in their favour. They broke out a seven point lead which GB pulled back to level again at 32 thanks to Drew Sullivan inside the final minute. A Latvian free throw was all that separated the teams at half time, Latvia leading 33-32.
Coach Prunty tried his options again with Achara starting the second half and it was the Scot who gave GB the first points of the third quarter. But once again, Latvia captain Janis Blums showed his quality to increase their lead back to five and every time GB started to close the gap, Blums would step up to the plate.
Nevertheless, the battle of wits took another turn when Kyle Johnson landed three from four at the the line to cut GB's deficit to three. Timma's jumper from beyond the arc doubled it before Clark's layup left GB trailing by four points with one quarter remaining, 48-52.
Clark picked up where he left off with 3 to start off the final act but Grazulis, Strelnieks and Janicenoks were all on hand to extend Latvia's lead back up to six. Trailing 55-64 going into the last five minutes, GB's task of finding a win looked uphill. It looked even tougher as Latvia continued to convert their chances.
When Freimanis laid up with 1:28 remaining, Latvia enjoyed a 13 point advantage. No team in the world would relish chasing that down but another 3 from Clark and a huge alley-oop from Hesson gave some entertainment for the crowd. Latvia would complete the double over GB (76-68) as GB continue their preparations for the EuroBasket qualifiers.
GB Head Coach Joe Prunty told gbbasketball.com, "We definitely want to win the games, but we got better. That being said, there are a lot of things that we have to improve upon, especially at the defensive end."
GB's next assignments see them travel to Belgium for games on Friday 25th July and Saturday 26th July. They then are in Tbilisi for a four team tournament in August, before the EuroBasket qualifiers against Iceland and Bosnia-Herzegovina get underway with two huge home encounters at the Copper Box on Wednesday August 13th and Wednesday August 20th. Tickets are on sale here.