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England Warms Up For Coventry Tip-Off

England's senior men basketball team travelled to Portugal to warm up for next week’s international games at Coventry Skydome.

The injury-ravaged squad had a disappointing time, with both Yugoslavia and Vasco da Gama, from Brazil pulling out before the mini-tournament started.

England played replacement side Benfica on Saturday and fell to a close defeat 86 - 88.

The highlight was Tony Dorsey making a great England debut following his recent naturalisation, top scoring with 26 points whilst London Towers' Ronnie Baker made 21 points.

England then suffered a 105 - 97 defeat at the hands of Portugal. Laszlo Nemeth's incomplete squad produced a great comeback after trailing 69 - 51 in the third quarter.

With four minutes remaining England trailed by just two points, 90 - 88 thanks to a great effort by Birmingham's Yorick Williams who top scored with 25 points.

Tony Dorsey failed to carry on where he had left off on Saturday scoring just 9 points, all but two of them coming in the first half.

Technical fouls for Williams and Nemeth following comments made to the referees added to England's frustration in the first half.

The Portuguese offence was too much for England as they stepped up in the last four minutes and Nuno Marcal took his points tally to a game high 39 points having missed just five shots all night.

Ronnie Baker captained the side, due to the absence of Steve Bucknall, and scored 24 points. Ian Whyte showed a much improved performance from the Benfica game, scoring 16 points and grabbing 8 rebounds.

Steve Bucknall said the addition of Tony Dorsey could make the difference to the England side, and picked out the stars of the future.

He said:

“Yorick Williams, Julius Joseph, Andy Betts and Steve Hansell are the future of International Basketball in England.

“This could be the last chance for myself, Ronnie (Baker) and Roger (Huggins) to reach a major European Championship Finals tournament.”

England travel to Switzerland today for the first of their five remaining games in the European Championship Semi Final Round, beginning with the Swiss in Porrentruy on Wednesday 22 November, tip-off at 6pm.

The first game at the Skydome is against the Slovak Republic on Saturday.


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CWN / Tourism & Leisure / SkyDome Coventry / 20 Nov 00
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