GB shock Greece 78-69 in first World Cup qualifier

Great Britain’s men produced a stunning comeback to beat World number 10 side Greece 78-69 in their opening World Cup qualifier in Newcastle.

Teddy Okereafor celebrated his 50th cap with 19 points and Tarik Phillip added 16 as hosts rallied from 15 points.

GB, who are ranked 42 and last beat Greece in 1984, had trailed 48-33 at the start of the second half.

They now travel to Istanbul to play on Sunday against Turkey, who were upset 80-74 by Belarus.

GB were missing their starting forward combination of Ovie Soko and Myles Hesson, both of whom play in Japan and would have faced a long quarantine period on their return.

Despite that, seven of their players scored as they tied the first quarter and led by five points at the start of the second before Greece scored off turnovers to lead 38-33 at half-time.

They opened the second half with a 10-0 run to take a commanding lead, but Ashley Hamilton and Luke Nelson began the GB revival. With the aid of four three-pointers from Okereafor, they seized the lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

When Philip and Nelson added further threes, GB led 69-60 and left Greece behind on a 31-10 scoring streak – and on their way to victory as they bid to reach the 2023 World Cup.

Coach Marc Steutel praised his team’s resilience after the game. “It’s a word we use a lot – it’s there in abundance among our group,” he said. “Tariq and Ash were terrific and Teddy produced a tremendous performance.”

Sunday’s game against Turkey will also be shown live on the BBC iPlayer.

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