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Page last updated at 19:02 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 20:02 UK

GB defeat Czechs to reach Euros

By Rob Dugdale
BBC Sport in Pardubice

Luol Deng drives to the basket (picture courtesy of Mansoor Ahmed)
Deng scored 21 points in GB's victory

Great Britain qualified for the European Championship finals for the first time in 28 years after beating the Czech Republic 67-63 in Pardubice.

Luol Deng scored 21 points and Nate Reinking had 20. GB scored the last seven points of the match - all from free throws, to seal their victory.

Neither team had a double-digit lead in a close, tense encounter.

Jiri Welsch threatened to win the game for the Czechs but missed his last shot of the game, with three seconds left.

Welsch, who has NBA experience, had 28 points in the match but it wasn't enough to stop Great Britain clinching the away win they needed to qualify for the finals in Poland next year.

This was two teams playing for everything

GB captain Andrew Sullivan
Earlier, Israel had beaten Bosnia 88-74 in Tel-Aviv, giving GB the chance to close out qualification with a fourth win in a row and the first away win in Group D.

"I wouldn't say it was a nervous game exactly," said Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who completed the win with two free throws 1.5 seconds from time and finished with nine points and 12 rebounds.

"It was two teams who came out to play and couldn't afford to lose. You saw the way Jiri came out scoring tonight."

Deng and Welsch almost traded baskets in the first half and both had 14 points at the interval.

In the third quarter, 10 points from Reinking kept Great Britain ticking over and narrowly in front.

The Czechs came good in the fourth quarter, when threes from Welsch and Tomas Satoransky gave them a 63-60 lead with 2:35 remaining.

But that proved to be their last score of the night as Mensah-Bonsu, Deng, Richard Midgley and Mensah-Bonsu again held their nerve from the free throw line.

"We knew it would be a half-court game and ugly for the most part," said GB captain Andrew Sullivan after the game. "This was two teams playing for everything - us to qualify and the Czechs just to stay alive in the group.

"Fortunately we were able to make enough plays to get the win - and now we're qualified."

see also
George sparks GB win over Israel
13 Sep 08 |  Basketball
Great Britain too good for Bosnia
10 Sep 08 |  Basketball
GB overcome Czechs for first win
06 Sep 08 |  Basketball
GB slip to Euro qualifying defeat
03 Sep 08 |  Basketball
Birmingham to host GB basketball
22 May 08 |  Basketball
Basketball results
12 Oct 00 |  Basketball


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Telegraph Great Britain claim place in European Championship basketball finals in Poland - 14 hrs ago
Edinburgh Evening News Men triumph but heartache for basketball women WHILE Great Britain men sail on in the basketball European Championship Division A with three home wins in a row under their belts following a 96-86 revenge win over Israel at Liverpool on Saturday - 68 hrs ago
The Scotsman Men triumph but heartache for basketball women WHILE Great Britain men sail on in the basketball European Championship Division A with three home wins in a row under their belts following a 96-86 revenge win over Israel at Liverpool on Saturday - 69 hrs ago
Jerusalem Post Euro Hoops: Another double-digit stinker on the road - 15 Sep 2008
Sporting Life BRITAIN AVENGE ISRAEL DEFEAT - 14 Sep 2008


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