GB Men ensured themselves a spot in the quarter finals of the World Championships today with a convincing win over Japan, 65-47.
It was the Great Britain starting line-up of Bywater, Munn, Brown, Jama and Marsh that got the ball rolling, storming to a 7-2 lead, until a nine point unanswered run from Japan gave them the advantage. Head Coach Haj Bhania’s change to a pressing unit, assisted by Choudhry’s exceptional shooting, meant GB regained control and were up by 6 points at the end of the first, 21-15.
In the second quarter, GB kept the defensive pressure on Japan, who were struggling to find any way out of the GB press, and Choudhry carried on his fine form scoring 21 points in the first half and giving GB a 41-23 lead at half time.
Bhania rotated he bench in the second half to ensure all players received valuable court time and at times this saw GB lose a little shape and tempo to their game. Japan never gave up and a valiant effort saw them win the third quarter 12-10.
However, GB dominated in the fourth as Coach Bhania found a line-up that worked, pushing themselves out to a comfortable 26 point lead with points coming from Manning, Highcock and Sagar, whilst Japan failed to score for the first five minutes of the quarter. Despite Japan’s best efforts to come back into the game, the margin was far too great and GB finished off with what was to be a comfortable victory, 65 -47.
GB’s Head Coach, Haj Bhania said, “It was a good performance today, we struggled at the start, our starters got us going early on but we’ve played Japan so many times in the run up to this tournament, we thought that they’d cause us problems and they changed things, they came back and took the lead but we put our press on and they did the job. Defensively we were fantastic.
“Harry Brown was brilliant in the starting line-up and Gaz Choudhry came on and knocked down four from four early on that changed the game and the whole pressing unit just stifled the Japanese offense; that made a difference for us and then we were able to rotate the players.
“We want to try and get minutes for all players but you can never relax against Japan as they never give up so even being in control at half time we knew we couldn’t let up, I thought the whole team did a brilliant job.
“Tomorrow’s game will be tough, Spain are such a good team and it’s really difficult to play them. I think they will come out and really want to win. It’s a really difficult game to call. We need to prepare well for it and go out there, stick to our game plan, and we will be in with a chance.
“We’ve got the quarter final spot now, but tomorrow’s game is still important as it decides where we finish and who we will play in the quarters.”
GB’s Harry Brown said, “It was nice to get a good win, a big win at that, hopefully we can use this and push on to the next game. I thought it might have been more difficult today because of how many times we had played Japan ahead of the Wold Championships because they know how we play and we know how they play, but at the end of the day we out performed them.”
GB Men will now look to continue their winning run against Spain tomorrow (Thursday 9th July) at 4.15am (BST) in their final game of the group stages to determine their opponents in the quarters.