Buoyant British basketballers toppled by Turkey in second qualifier after Greek shock

Great Britain’s basketballers could not maintain the upsurge in form that saw them stun Greece in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, against Turkey in Istanbul.

Marc Steutel’s team had shocked the top-ten team in their campaign opener - toppling the country ranked 32 places higher in the world standings 78-69 in Newcastle last week.

And though the Brits began against the group favourites Turkey in a similar vein, they eventually wilted in the heat of Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem arena to leave the four-team section finely poised after two games.

Belarus had performed a shock of their own while Steutel’s side were defeating Greece, but Turkey ensured there would be no second day surprises, running out 84-67 winners leaving all teams in Group B on one win and one defeat ahead of the next scheduled fixtures in February.

Buoyed by their shock against Greece, Britain began brightly and led after the first period, which included an 11-0 run inspired by Tarik Phillip and at one stage GB led by 13. Turkey, ranked 16th in the world, responded in the second to level the scores 37-37 at half-time, and then the crucial third Shane Larkin exerted his dominance and built a lead that proved unassailable by Steutel’s side despite Phillip and Gabriel Olaseni combining to reduce the arrears to six points going into the final period.

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However an emphatic fourth, 24-13 for the hosts took the final score to 84-67 and balanced the group, with Greece bouncing back from their defeat to win against Belarus 77-67.

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