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Page last updated at 20:57 GMT, Wednesday, 11 August 2010 21:57 UK

Great Britain secure late win over Bosnia-Hercegovina

By Rob Dugdale
BBC Sport in Sarajevo

Dan Clark
Dan Clark hit five three-pointers in his 23 points

Great Britain squeezed to another close win in their European Championship qualifying campaign, beating Bosnia-Hercegovina 84-80 in Sarajevo.

Dan Clark had his best game yet for GB, hitting five three-pointers in his 23 points and Nate Reinking added 21.

In a close game, GB played poorly in patches but were rescued by their ability to win close games.

Reinking hit the winning free throws with four seconds left after a late three-pointer gave the hosts hope.

With Great Britain's two main scorers, Luol Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, denied the ball by the Bosnian defence, Clark's contribution was crucial.

And he put in an astonishing shooting performance, missing only two shots all night and hitting all five of his three-point attempts.

"Someone had to be open and tonight it was me," Clark told BBC Sport.

"I think the first two I hit were pretty open - the last three I was feeling quite good.

"With someone like Luol Deng on the team who gets so much attention you just have to get open because he can get you the ball."

Head coach Chris Finch was not surprised by Clark's performance.

I always felt this team wasn't the type that was going to go out and win by 20 points

GB head coach Chris Finch

"Dan's been playing like that all tournament so far," he said. "Tonight he just had more opportunities because of all the attention that was going to Luol."

Deng had 16 points, the same as Mensah-Bonsu, who added 12 rebounds before fouling out in the later stages of an at-times-bitter contest.

After trailing 16-7 early on through poor defence, it took threes from Reinking, Deng and Clark to bring GB back level at the end of the first quarter.

Clark continued his shooting streak at the start of the second, hitting three more threes to keep up his perfect record and turn the volume down a little on an enthusiastic, partisan crowd.

GB trailed by seven points at the break but levelled the game at the start of the third quarter and later took the lead when Clark hit his fifth three and Flinder Boyd added another.

But in a game destined to be as close and tense, Bosnia started the final stanza the better.

Although GB led with Reinking's three, and two free throws with four minutes remaining, the scores were level 76-76 going into the last two-and-a-half minutes.

Two free throws from Clark and a lay-up from Reinking after Mensah-Bonsu had blocked a shot brought GB some breathing space and the crowd began leaving early as Deng and Mensah-Bonsu added free throws.

Those fans missed a three from Feliks Kojadinovic with 14 seconds remaining that reduced the arrears to three points.

Yet even a pair of missed free throws by Boyd were not enough for Bosnia, who missed one of their own and then had to watch as Reinking hit two to seal GB's position as top of Group C heading into the weekend's game against Ukraine in Birmingham.

"I always felt this team wasn't the type that was going to go out and win by 20 points," said Finch afterwards.

"Everyone's going to play difficult against us. We've put ourselves in a position to capitalise on what's coming up."

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see also
GB earn gutsy win over Macedonia
08 Aug 10 |  Basketball
GB beat Hungary in Euro qualifier
02 Aug 10 |  Basketball
Superstar Deng spreads the basketball word
16 Aug 10 |  World Olympic Dreams
Deng back for vital GB qualifiers
31 Jul 10 |  Basketball
GB 'must work harder' for 2012
30 Jul 10 |  Basketball
Finch confident of Deng's return
12 Apr 10 |  Basketball
Coach calls for GB trio to commit
14 Feb 10 |  Basketball

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