Britain close to shocking world champions Spain
September 8 - Britain tonight came close to pulling off one of the biggest shocks in the history of basketball when they narrowly failed to beat world champions Spain in Warsaw and knock them out of the European Championships.
In the end Britain lost 84-76 but only after leading by four points in the final quarter.
Britain's Jarrett Hart (pictured) and Mike Lenzly both converted four of their five three-point shots to lead the scorecard, with Hart on 15 and Lenzly on 14, while Joel Freeland and Nate Reinking both contributed 10 points.
Britain found themselves 12 points down in the opening minutes of the game but a massive fourth quarter, which they won 20-18, almost resulted in an historic victory.
Britain's coach Chris Finch: "First of all congratulations to Spain, they did a good job certainly down the stretch but I'm proud of our guys.
"The game went how we thought it would, we thought they'd try to knock us out early but we held in there and kept shuffling the line up until we found one that worked.
"It was fun to watch our guys out there.
"We played with a lot of heart and determination but again we just kind of ran out of gas at the wrong time.
"One thing I know about our guys is that we're going to compete every time we step out on the floor.
"Everything is new for us at this level but we are learning fast and I thought we did a much better job competing at every single play tonight than we did last night.
"Nobody else in the gym would give us a chance to win tonight so we had to do it ourselves.
"But at the end of the day it's about getting wins and we need a victory to get to the next round so it's disappointing in that sense, although I'm proud of the way we played and the way we represent the jersey that we wear.
"I look back at tonight and the things that stuck out most are the 40 free-throws or the inability to get a good look down the stretch.
"Tonight we were beaten by four guys who we made play outside their rhythm.
"I just wish we could've got a bit better ball movement in those few moments we got the 24 second violation because I felt at 10 points down the game was to be had."
The result means that Britain's future in the tournament rests on tomorrow night's game against Serbia, after Slovenia beat them 80-69 earlier in the evening.
Finch (pictured) said: "I always said this level in particular would be a big learning curve and we are learning a lot quickly.
"The key now is how quick we put into play what we've learnt.
"We are going to use every lesson we have learnt tomorrow as it's going to be an unbelievably physical battle.
"I told our guys it could come down to one game.
"It's right there for us tomorrow to take."
The only two players to keep their starting five positions were Rob Archibald and Reinking, with Nick George, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Flinder Boyd joining them for day two in Warsaw.
However, Reinking was removed from action inside the first minute after picking up two fouls.
From there Spain raced into a nine-point lead, with Pau Gasol clearly eager to make up for a poor performance against Serbia, indeed he made no mistake with his first two freethrows, having made only one in eight the previous night.
Moments later his three pointer inflicted further damage until Mensah-Bonsu broke the British duck with a jumper.
Britain had to wait over a minute for their second basket of the game which came courtesy of a fast break and lay-up by Boyd.
By now Kieron Achara had recorded his first minutes of the European Championships, as did Spain's Rudy Fernandez, meaning the world champions had their three NBA stars on court for the first time in the tournament.
Spain built up a 14-point lead but Malaga pair Archibald and Freeland chipped away at the deficit, with the latter dunking inside the last minute of the quarter, which ended 25-15, however, Britain had also amassed eight fouls.
As they did against Slovenia, Britain had a much stronger second period and when Lenzly made his lay-up they were only seven points adrift.
It was Lenzly who chipped away further at the gap, when he responded to a Pau Gasol bucket with a three, which made it 32-26 with five minutes of the quarter left o play.
Spain went on a seven-point run but Britain ensured that at half time they only trailed by nine at 44-35, having won the quarter 20-19.
But Spain came out of the locker room with all guns blazing as they raced ahead to a 16-point lead.
Lenzly returned to the floor to sink yet another three and become Britain's first player into double figures, he was swiftly followed by Freeland who dunked on Pau Gasol.
The remainder of the third quarter was a tentative affair for Britain who had Mensah-Bonsu, Archibald and Freeland all on the bench with four fouls.
It was a different story in the fourth period though when Britain hit Spain hard with a 12-point run, thanks to Reinking's pair of jump shots and freethrows and then Hart's three, which brought them within touching distance of Spain at 66-65.
Then Hart's second three gave Britain their first lead of the game at 68-66 and by now even the Slovenian fans, who had remained from the first game, sensed a possible upset was on the cards and helped turn the atmosphere in favour of Britain.
Spain had to wait until the sixth minute to score their first bucket of the period, through Pau Gasol, but the momentum, and indeed crowd, was against them as Achara replied with a jump shot, then Hart's three gave Britain a four-point lead.
With just over three minutes remaining Achara was fouled out and Hart picked up his fourth of the game.
Spain regained the lead through a Pau Gasol shot from outside the arc and it was a lead they worked hard to keep until the end of the game.
September 2009: Britain lose opening EuroBasket match