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Page last updated at 20:49 GMT, Saturday, 6 September 2008 21:49 UK

GB overcome Czechs for first win

By Rob Dugdale
BBC Sport at the O2 Arena

Photo by Mansoor Ahmed
Pops Mensah-Bonsu drives to the basket against the Czechs

Great Britain beat the Czech Republic 87-68 at the O2 Arena to achieve their first win in EuroBasket qualifying Group D.

Nate Reinking led all scorers with 22 points and Luol Deng added 21.

The hosts led from the start, allowing the Czechs only 37 points in the first three quarters.

The lead stretched to 21 points in the fourth quarter as Reinking, Nick George and Deng hit three-pointers to close out the game.

The match attracted 7,244 fans in what was the team's first game at the O2 Arena, a tie the team saw as an emotional homecoming.

Deng took until the final minute of the first half to get his first points on the board, but GB were already on top by then thanks to Reinking and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who was the game's major force defensively.

Trailing 23-37 at half-time, the Czechs hit an 8-2 run to start the second half to briefly worry GB, but Reinking and Deng hit six points each to restore their team's dominance.

In the final quarter, Deng became less of a provider and more of a scorer, hitting three three-pointers in his 14 points, the last coming on the buzzer.

GB, who hope to qualify for the European Championship finals in order to prove their worth as Olympic hosts in 2012, now play Bosnia-Herzegovina in Birmingham on Wednesday, having won one and lost one of the six group games they will play.

Meanwhile Britain's women's team lost 76-68 in Lithuania, a result that leaves them needing to beat Germany in Cardiff on Wednesday to avoid slipping into Division A's relegation play-outs.

see also
GB slip to Euro qualifying defeat
03 Sep 08 |  Basketball
Basketball results
12 Oct 00 |  Basketball

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