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[01 DEC 00] ENGLAND REPORT
England 69
Latvia 74

Alas: poor Yorick and other out-of-form shooters mean it will be a struggle for England to qualify for the European Championships after they were beaten by Latvia.

England's two shooting guards, Andy Gardiner and Yorick Williams, combined to make just one shot in 13 attempts. Williams eventually fouled out after three quick fouls in the final quarter.

The 74-69 defeat at the Skydome arena summed up a painful night at the free throw line and an uncharacteristic cool shooting night from designated sharpshooter, Andy Gardiner.

Gardiner missed all four shots from the field and England made just 12 of 23 from the line, wasting a heroic performance by Andy Betts, who scored 17 points and dominated the game.

The national team can still advance to Istanbul 2001 with a win in Croatia next month followed by home success against Hungary, but only if Latvia lose one of their remaining two games.

One of those games is against Group A leaders Croatia.

Coach Laszlo Nemeth said:

"We live in hope, but I can't even think about it. This was the game we needed. Where was everybody?"

England guard Steve Hansell, who scored an encouraging 15 points in his best performance for the national team, said the lack of support from the crowd was a factor in the defeat.

He said:

"I just feel like I can run faster, jump higher when the crowd is into it. But people in this country are not as knowledgeable about the sport."
 

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CWN / Sport / Basketball / England  / 1 Dec 00
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