Basketball: Agony as Luol Deng's Team GB men go so close against Spain


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Great Britain came closer than ever to claiming their first win at the Basketball Arena but went down by just point to the world's No 2 side Spain.

Britain overcame foul trouble for key duo Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu to twice be within two points in the final minute with a chance to tie.

But Spain's poise at the free throw line kept them in front and what would have been the greatest victory in the history of the modern British basketball programme slipped away, leaving them 79-78 losers.

Joel Freeland made back-to-back shots to make it 71-69 with 74 seconds left and after Pau Gasol came up short with a jump-shot, Britain had the chance to tie the score.

Instead, Fernando San Emeterio robbed Deng and Jose Calderon put Spain four points clear.

Calderon's free throws increased the advantage, but Daniel Clark and Nate Reinking had threes to make it 77-75.

Calderon went to the line again and kept his cool to stretch the lead to four. Deng's dramatic late three-pointer was not enough. Deng top scored for Britain with 26 points and nine rebounds.