Garbelotto laments World Cup injuries

Garbelotto laments World Cup injuries
By Sportsbeat

28/11/2017 at 11:47Updated

Great Britain head coach Tony Garbelotto blamed injuries for his side's second dramatic late defeat in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 qualifiers.

Star players Andrew Lawrence and Gabe Olaseni were absent as the team lost 73-70 to Estonia, having trailed by three points with just 14.3 seconds to play.

The result came three days after Great Britain suffered a 95-92 defeat to Greece on Friday, meaning they sit bottom of group H.

The qualifying campaign recommences in February and Garbelotto will hope to have a full squad to choose from.

"We didn't play as well as we did on Friday night. Losing Andrew Lawrence was a massive blow," he explained.

"The only positive from the game is that we were down by eight and we came back with a chance to win it.

“I credit our team with their desire to want to win but we never really threatened them on their home court.

"We just didn't make enough plays and we weren't cohesive enough offensively to break them down.

"Every team loses players but Gabe balances our team, he's the only player who plays inside the key. We missed his presence again."

The two losses leave Great Britain in a difficult position, with only the 12 best teams of the 32 involved in European qualifying making it to the World Cup in China.

The visitors led 21-18 in the opener, but Estonia clawed their way back in front of a passionate home crowd and had the advantage at the end of the second and third quarters.

Lawrence and Olaseni's absence did at least give Ovie Soko a chance to shine and the forward scored 17 points as well as claiming six rebounds and two steals.

Sportsbeat 2017

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