GB’s Ovie Soko scored 18 points against Germany
Great Britain’s men produced an amazing finish to win their second EuroBasket qualifier 81-73 against Germany, coming through to win in the last six minutes.
Germany led 68-64 with seven minutes left but were powerless to stop a 17-2 run from the hosts to settle the game.
Luke Nelson led GB with 26 points and Ovie Soko added 18 points and 10 rebounds in Newcastle.
GB’s next games come in November, when they play at home to France and Montenegro.
Only three teams qualify for the 2021 finals from their group.
Nelson was lively from the start, hitting six of GB’s first eight points before Germany began to find their shooting range, hitting four threes in the first quarter.
He again provided the answer to that after the first interval, hitting 12 points in an 18-6 run and looked dangerous almost every time he got the ball.
GB led 40-39 at half-time but were still not shooting the ball well. That continued at the start of the second half and Germany took advantage, with their best shooter, Andreas Obst, hitting three times in a 14-5 run before Soko’s two baskets brought GB back to within five points.
Obst hit his sixth threes for Germany with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter but GB prevented the visitors from scoring for almost four and a half minutes.
In the meantime, Nelson and Myles Hesson started the winning streak and threes from Ben Mockford and Nelson left Germany 11 points adrift with 25 seconds remaining and GB took the chance of getting a first win on the board.
“It’s a day to be very proud of for Great Britain basketball – we thought the Montenegro game was winnable,” said GB captain Dan Clark, who was making his 104th appearance.
“We can build on this – it’s a great momentum-builder. It’s a very even group, if you look at the results anyone can beat anyone.
“We all know the talent and potential that Luke has – we’ve been waiting for a game like this from him for a while now. We all know he’s a great offensive player and little by little he’s learned his role on this team and in professional basketball. Hopefully he’ll build on that and become the spark we need.”
Marc Steutel, GB’s stand-in head coach, was celebrating his first win in the role after Nate Reinking had to remain with his NBA G-League team during the qualifying window.
“I think this will sink in after a few days – or so the guys say.
After the Montenegro game I’ve been preaching that I have total belief in the squad and even tonight at half-time, there was a feel about it – we were frustrated that we were leading by one point but we could have had more of a grip of the game. So this gives us a push going forward into the November window.”