Germany have crashed out of EuroBasket 2013 after a 81-74 defeat to Great Britain. It was the third loss in a row for the Germans and the first time they've failed to progress out of the first round in 18 years.
Germany's hopes of a third place finish in Group A at the European Basketball Championships in Slovenia were dashed on Sunday after their seven point loss to Britain. Center Tibor Pleiss' 20 points and 14 rebounds weren't enough to avoid a third consecutive defeat after an impressive upset win over France to open the tournament.
The Germans struggled on the defensive end. Four British players scored in double figures, including 23 points from guard Andrew Lawrence and a 21 point, 11 rebound performance from forward Myles Hesson.
Trailing 69-73 with two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, a Germany comeback looked possible until Devon van Oostrum and Lawrence combined to put the game out of reach.
Turnovers cost the Germans, who gave the ball away 15 times leading to 19 British points. Germany needed a victory if they wanted to progress, but instead they find themselves going home early.
"We're disappointed," said head coach Frank Menz. "But we knew from the outset that it would be a difficult tournament."
Britain improve to 2-2 in the tournament and now sit third in the Group. Germany, meanwhile, exit in the first round of EuroBasket for the first time since 1995 in Greece.
Playing without their five NBA-based players, Germany were always considered outsiders against teams like France and Spain that featured seasoned top pros like Tony Parker and Marc Gasol.
"We don't have a lot of players on the top level," said Menz. "Ultimately it's about building a team for the future."
Despite being eliminated, the Germans have one final game to play on Monday against Israel.
dr/ccp (SID, dpa)