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Freeland takes positives from defeat
8:16am Friday 3rd August 2012 in Sport
JOEL Freeland says Great Britain’s basketball team are on the verge of a breakthrough after giving group B rivals Spain an almighty scare before suffering an agonising 79-78 loss.
The former Solent Stars forward and his colleagues prompted pandemonium at the Basketball Arena in Stratford as they recovered from a sluggish start to shade the second quarter 14-13 and kick on to threaten a famous comeback.
Having pegged the Spaniards back to 68-65 with three minutes remaining, 71-69 with 45 seconds left and 77-75 with 17 seconds on the clock, Team GB had the crowd on its feet roaring and willing them to their first win of the Games.
They had the better of the fourth quarter by a 30-19 margin but the 24-15 first-quarter deficit cost them and Freeland is urging his team to take their cue from how they finished the encounter.
“We showed a lot of heart out there and we showed how badly we wanted to get the win,” the 25-year-old said. “We weren’t quite able to do it this time around but we stuck together and what was encouraging is that we did put ourselves in a position where we could win.
“We know very well what a tough team Spain are – an amazingly talented team, in fact. They can go off at any moment but we’ve played them before and done well and got results, so you can’t base how you play on reputation.”
With three defeats on the board nothing but victory will do against Australia tomorrow. Fortunately, says Aldershot-born Freeland, GB know they have a win in them.
“Of course the Australia game could have elimination at stake now, but we’ll still approach it the same way we’ve approached the other games up to now,” he said.
“That means we’ll come out again and fight for each other. It will be no different against Australia and if we show the kind of heart that we showed against Spain, and keep making plays and keep defending well, we’ll get that win.
“We came back from the loss to Russia looking like a better team against Brazil and now better again against Spain. So we’re getting there, we’re getting closer to a result.
“We know these are good teams we’re playing against and we’re going to show again that we’re ready to fight to stay in this.”
Coach Chris Finch saw little wrong with what is at his disposal and backed his men to persevere and get that elusive victory.
He said: I’m proud of my players. I knew they would fight all the way, they were confident and they made some big plays.
The younger guys are stepping up and it’s important that we hang in there.”
Lloyds TSB, proud supporter of Team GB and proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Get closer to the Games at lloydstsb.com/london2012
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