Basketball: England make stylish start

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The Independent Online
England opened their European Championship qualifying tournament in Pezinok Slovakia last night with a resounding 108-64 victory against Luxembourg, the weakest of the four nations chasing the two places available in the semi-final round this autumn, writes Richard Taylor.

Luxembourg led 8-2 but were soon overwhelmed after a 16-2 England run, spearheaded by two-three pointers from Peter Scantelbury making a record 113th appearance for the national team to overtake Paul Stimpson's long standing record.

England shot astonishingly well, hitting 16 out of 29 three point attempts. Their coach Laszlo Nemeth said: "I can't remember an England team shooting that well, not even in practice."

England play Switzerland tonight and the hosts tomorrow. "The next two games will be very different, but this was good for our confidence," Nemeth added.

Nemeth's own confidence has been boosted by the English Basketball Association's decision not to advertise for a replacement when the Hungarian's three- year contract expires next week.

England's main concern for the weekend centres on 6ft 9in John Amaechi, who broke a toe training with the Portland Trail Blazers in America last week and scored just five points last night from limited court time.