Riders’ Guard Conner Washington built on his great performance in his first GB appearance with another impressive display. Conner was particulary impressive on the defensive end doing a great job on Austria’s high scoring guard Sylven Landesburg.
Great Britain beat Austria 78 to 75 away in the qualifiers for EuroBasket 2021, but still failed to go through to the next round, going out on points difference to the home team, who had won by 14 points in Manchester in November.
The win, led by 19 points and nine rebounds from Ovie Soko, was not enough to overhaul Austria for first place in their group.
Cyprus finished last in the pool without a win.
The results means GB will face Luxembourg and Kosovo this summer in a three-team third round qualifying group.
It will be played in a home-and-away format, with the teams facing each other over six game days in August.
The win in Austria saw another stellar effort for Riders point guard Conner Washington.
In only his second appearance for the senior team Washington played for 22 minutes and scored 7 points and dished out 3 assists.
But it was his defensive effort on the Austrian’s star player Sylven Landesburg which almost turned the tide.
Landesburg had scored 48 points in the first leg, and he had racked 20 points in the first half in this match, as the Austrians dominated the first half, and in spite of a late GB fightback, still held a 4 point half time lead.
But with Washington marking him man-to-man Landesburg was held to a single point in the third quarter.
Dan Clark hit a three-pointer as GB drew level at 51-51 early in the third quarter and then GB got in front for the first time via a Ovie Soko jump shot, and Teddy Okereafor added another, as GB went on a 7-0 run.
Ashley Hamilton converted on a fast break and GB, with Myles Hesson scoring freely, led by 6 at the end of the third quarter, and were left needing to win the fourth period by 12 points or more to qualify.
GB had a 9 point lead with 3 minutes left, meaning the deficit was just 5 points, but poor decision making in the final few minutes gave Austria the chance to seal the overall victory.