Thursday, 15 July 2010

Friendly. England 61-82 Ivory Coast

England found World Championship finalists Ivory Coast too strong as they went down 82-61 in the second game of their French Summer League campaign, on Wednesday.

The Manchester Magic's David Watts led the scoring for Paul James' team with 14 points, but in common with their loss against Lithuania last week they were made to pay for missed foul shots.

Despite the loss against a side who will face Russia, China, Turkey, Greece and Puerto Rico at the World Championships in August, James wasn't too despondent:

"This was a step up in level from the Luxembourg game," he said. "Ivory Coast are one of two teams we are playing this week who are preparing for the World Championships in Turkey, the other being Tunisia who we play next.

"We struggled getting into any kind of rhythm offensively due to the pressure they put us under for the whole game. This was not helped by the early exit of Taner Adu two minutes into the second quarter.

"Having said that we showed plenty of character keeping the game close and taking the lead early in the third on a Ben Eaves three making the score 36-34. We continued to work hard at the defensive end with good success, but failed to convert at the offensive end under the pressure.

"It was still a five point game going into the fourth quarter when we missed four foul shots in a row whilst stopping them from scoring. We were a very poor from the foul line [10 for 23] and at this level, that's going to hurt your chances of winning any game. This was the closest we would get.

"The players should not be to down on themselves as this was a huge learning curve that we have to deal with and get through the other side as better players. David Watts had a very good game with 17 points and six rebounds. Ben Eaves, Sam Cricelli and Mike Williams had solid enough games."

Eaves was the only other England player in double figures with 13, including three from downtown, with Williams and Cricelli each adding eight.

A balanced Ivory Coast scoring effort saw Herve Lamizana and Pape-Phillipe Abouo each finish with 13, Brice Assie finishing on 12, Guy Landry on 11 and Didier Tape 10.

The African side have brought their full World Championship squad to the tournament, and they rushed into a 24-13 lead at the first break before a strong second period saw England move within two at 34-32 going into the locker room at half-time.

Eaves' score from behind the arc gave England a brief lead, and they were still in touch at the final break, trailing 52-47.

The fourth period proved to be a step too far for James' team, who were in their second game in as many days, as they were outscored 30-14 to give the final scoreline a lopsided look.

The teams proved to be equal on the boards, each pulling down 38 rebounds, but England's 23 turnovers to Ivory Coast's 18 proved crucial.

England face Tunisia on Thursday evening before wrapping up their tournament games on Friday with a game against Belgium's Under 23 team


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