Basketball: 'Bulldog' spirit takes Bywater's boys through to last eight

 

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The Independent Online

Resurgent Great Britain tied up a quarter-final spot with a convincing 71-55 victory over Japan yesterday, their third Group A win in a row after losing the opening two games.

"It was just another true British bulldog performance," said Terry Bywater, who led the home side with 19 points. "The way we pushed the floor, the way we passed the ball, the way we worked for one another ... the basketball out there today was phenomenal."

An 8-0 charge gave them a 13-6 lead on Abdi Jama's basket, and with Bywater finding his touch early they charged into a 25-14 lead on the first quarter. Simon Munn was also in the points early, and his shot soon made it 31-16 before three-pointers from Dan Highcock and Jon Pollock pushed it to 43-22 near half-time.

Britain led 60-32 late in the third quarter when a remarkable off- balance shot from Bywater swished the hoop as the Middlesbrough man was picking himself up off the floor.

Japan hit back, though, chipping away to get back to 66-53 on Reo Fujimoto's shot going into the final two minutes, but Britain's lead was never under threat. "I thought three quarters were pretty bloody good," said the Great Britain coach, Murray Treseder. "[In] the last quarter a couple of guys went individual and [Japan] were very effective.

"I wasn't happy with that but the last two games have been at a very high standard. It sets us up for what will be a brutal quarter-final. The eight teams left are outstanding."

Motivation should not be a problem. When Japan took 15 points out of the British lead, Treseder called a time-out, though he stopped short of a trademark rant at his players.

"He's been quite relaxed," said Ian Sagar, who added 11 points. "He does like to scream and shout, or give us a 'spraying' as the guys call it, but he was quite calm and collected. He told us what to do and we went out and did it."

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