Sunday, 16 August 2009

Finch, Freeland take positives from 02 outing

Great Britain ended the Game On tournament winless at London’s 02 Arena as Israel inflicted a 79-69 defeat on Chris Finch’s short-handed side.

With three weeks until the start of the European Championships, the hosts were boosted by promising performances from Spanish-based duo Joel Freeland and Dan Clark but could not overturn a 49-39 half-time deficit.

After a battling 70-63 loss to eventual victors Turkey on Saturday, Finch gave his fringe players an opportunity but will hope to have Rob Archibald, Pops Mensah Bonsu and Andy Betts back for this week’s friendlies with Spain and Lithuania in Seville.

He said: "I thought we made a big step up from Friday night. We get the chance to assess the ability of work now by the team and individuals.

"I thought the front court was very good all tournament, they did a good job of executing stuff. I liked our guard combination but we have to find a way to find them some shots.

"What encouraged me most was the way we came back against Turkey and corrected a lot of correctable things. Kieron (Achara) did well in his two games and I also thought Randall (Hanke) did well. We are going to get experience and composure back, plus some on-court leadership and some invaluable stuff.

"Results at this stage aren't the key thing. We want them [results] to build confidence but confidence isn't an issue for us."

But Finch has warned that his absent trio will not just walk back into his line-up, with Freeland, who hit a double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds against Israel, savouring his opportunity.

“Coach has given me a good role to play in the team and I'm trying to take it in my stride,” said Freeland, who recently agreed a five-year with Unicaja Malaga after rebuffing a two-year stint with Portland.

“It's been hard for me, I've not been playing this many minutes in games and I'm trying to take them and use them the best way I can.

"I've really enjoyed myself in this tournament but feel like, especially in this game today, that we could have got a much better result.

"It's not easy coming in and losing three games at home but it's a learning curve and we have to look at the mistakes we made. We have a few more weeks till Poland to get ready."

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