Friday, 16 July 2010

Friendly. Tunisia 77-52 England

A strong third period couldn't pave the way for an England victory on Thursday evening as they went down 77-52 against Tunisia in the French Summer League.

The United States will be among Tunisia's opponents in this summer's World Championships in Turkey, but England looked capable of producing a shock at the final break before eventually fading in the fourth quarter.

Coach Paul James still saw some positives in the performance of his team who were playing their third game in as many days against a side who came into the match-up fresh:

"It was another very tough game for us, but our focus was to do the little things better than we had done the day before against the Ivory Coast," he said.

"Tunisia were a much bigger and well organised team and before we new it we were down big and had a real battle on our hands - not to let the game get away from us completely.

"At half time we made some adjustments and found a unit that was able to not only hold the Tunisian team to 11 points but scored 21 points of out own. Just like the night before we had done a fantastic job as a team working extremely hard for each other to get the score to within seven with the final quarter to come.

"But like the night before though this was ten minutes too far and we were not able to sustain the level of play needed to keep the pressure on the Tunisian team, finally losing 77-52.

"Our overall performance was better with lots of positives to take from this game. David Watts and Mike Williams had very solid games again with 14 and 13 points respectively."

England were under pressure from tip, and trailed 23-10 going into the first break before at least stemming the tide in the second period as they went into the locker room at half-time 37-21 down.

A strong third quarter saw England battle back as they outscored the African side 21-11 to trail 48-41 at the final break. But that was as good as it got for James' side as they were outscored 29-11 in the final stanza.

Ben Eaves added eight for England, while Williams finished with eight rebounds in 27 minutes and Tayo Ogedegbe had six boards to go with his four points.

On the positive side for an England team who were out-rebounded 38-27, they recovered from a dismal free-throw performance the previous night to convert 72 percent of their charity shots, and Taner Adu returned from injury to score five points and dish out as many assists in 22 minutes of action.

England wrap their programme in Calais on Friday evening when they face Belgium's Under-23s. The Belgians have split their opening two games, hammering Luxembourg before losing 77-63 against Finland last night.

On the busiest night of the competition so far, Ivory Coast made short work of Luxembourg, outscoring them 27-7 in the fourth period on the way to a 99-69 victory.


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