Improved GB edged out by Latvia in World Cup qualifier

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BASKETBALL

Myles Hesson has top-scored in all four of GB’s games this summer.
Great Britain’s men lost their fourth straight World Cup qualifier of the summer when group leaders Latvia beat them 87-80 in Newcastle.

Myles Hesson again led GB’s scoring with 15 points, Gabe Olaseni and Luke Nelson adding 14 and 11 respectively.

In a vastly improved showing from the defeat in Belgium three days earlier, GB stayed in touch throughout but were unable to find the finish they needed.

They remain bottom of their group with four games remaining.

GB head coach Nate Reinking said he was proud of his players’ performance despite the defeat.

“They battled and it just came back to that fourth we made plays we wish we could take back,” he said. “But we’ve made great strides as a team.”

The team will now stay in camp to prepare for their EuroBasket finals campaign, which starts in Milan on Friday with a game against Ukraine.

GB’s main problem in the game was containing Latvia’s 7ft 3in NBA centre Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 29 points and took 14 rebounds in the visitors’ win.

Yet GB’s intensity brought them back in the second quarter to level the game 38-38 at half-time, and the teams were still level with five and a half minutes remaining.

Latvia again went to Porzingis to re-establish the lead but a three-pointer from Hesson with 1:40 remaining gave the home team a chance at 81-78.

A Porzingis dunk and a Hesson missed lay-up then effectively decided the game.

Group I table (top three to qualify)

P W L PTS PD
Latvia 6 5 1 11 +45
Greece 6 4 2 10 +34
Serbia 6 3 3 9 +2
Belgium 6 3 3 9 -3
Turkey 6 2 4 8 -12
Great Britain 6 1 5 7 -66

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