Great Britain missed an opportunity to rack up their first win of their FIBA World Cup 2019 Qualifiers campaign after being edged out 82-75 by Israel on Friday afternoon.
Despite being dominant early in the second-half and with many positives to take from the contest, an under-par couple of minutes ultimately proved to be costly.
The turning point came during the middle of the third period, when GB squandered a double-digit lead which had arrived off the back of a big triple from Luke Nelson that had made it 57-47.
At that stage they looked comfortable and on course for victory, but Israel had other ideas. They responded by posting a powerful 17-4 run to take some home court momentum into the last 10 minutes.
GB did regain their composure and fought back to regain the initiative and with less than three minutes remaining, briefly recaptured the lead at 72-73 as Gareth Murray dropped a downtown score. But, Israel went on to have the last say and delivered down the stretch to take victory.
Gabe Olaseni was the standout player for GB with 19 points and 8 rebounds, while Nelson and Murray both shot well and shared 24 points.
With his team 0-3 in the Group, recently installed head coach Alberto Lorenzo will now try to get his first win at the helm when the team move to Heraklion on Sunday to face Greece in a 4pm tip-off.
Great Britain also have two home games to play against Estonia and Israel this summer as they look to improve their record and prospects of advancing.
New Great Britain head coach Alberto Lorenzo is already thinking about the win that got away after being outlasted by Israel.
Having stepped up from his role as Assistant, it had looked like he would get off to a winning start when his team went up by 10 points in the third quarter, but an erratic few minutes saw his side lose the initiative.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate Israel – I think they played a really smart game and they moved their players perfectly right until the end,” stated the play-caller.
“For us, I thought we did a good job in the first half and during the first minutes of the third quarter. But, we kind of lost that advantage, so for me, that is [where we lost] the momentum of the game.
“At the end we were in a situation of switching on defence and we were still involved in the game, but we made many turnovers in the fourth quarter.”
“I don’t know exactly the time that we lost our advantage [in that third quarter] but it was in just two or three minutes,” added Lorenzo.
“At that time, the mind of the players switched and we started to feel like we were losers [in the game].”
Image / Report: GB Basketball