The second game of the day saw Great Britain and Turkey tip off for the men’s bronze medal in a re-match of the 2015 European Championship final.
Looking to avenge their European loss, Turkey roared into action – racing to a 4-0 lead before Great Britain hit back to level the game (4-4). The teams then traded points until Turkey pushed ahead 12-6; the GB Men hit back once again, but at the end of the first quarter it was Turkey with the 22-16 advantage.
Upon the teams return to court, Turkey continued to put up strong performances at both ends of the court to maintain the upper-hand, but a stunning finish to the second quarter by Great Britain saw the British side complete the four point play to move within just one point of their opponents by half time: Turkey ahead by 30-29.
The third quarter saw Turkey raise their game once more to extend their lead to six points with just 10 minutes remaining in regular time: 49-43.
A nailbiting fourth quarter then ensued as Great Britain hit back to level the game on 49 points before Turkey shot their way ahead once more. The GB Men then fought their way back into the game, working their way to a 63-56 lead. It was now Turkey’s turn to respond and they did: taking a two point lead with just 25 seconds remaining; Great Britain’s Terry Bywater, however, then fired a basket home to level the game and force a period of overtime.
The thrilling battle continued into overtime as the teams traded points. Turkey broke away to take a 75-69 lead; but once again Great Britain found their way back with some sharp shooting and strong defence to close out the bronze medal with a 82-76 victory.
GB Men’s Head Coach Haj Bhania said: “We’ve had some great games against Turkey: we’ve met them twice in the European finals and beaten them, they beat us in the world championship quarter finals in 2014. They’re the third best team in the world from the World Championships, so we knew that they were going to come back and want to maintain that status. They are a very tricky team to play against, very experienced – great scorers, great play, great sets that they run – we just had to manage that and it meant outscoring them more than anything else.
“It’s great to see three European teams in the medal games at the Paralympic Games. I think Europe has now changed and realised that rather than playing catch up all the time we can start to dominate the world a bit. I think the future for Europe is good if we keep progressing.”
Simon Munn, who in Rio represented Great Britain at a seventh Paralympic Games, said: “This was an awesome way to finish my career; it could have been so much better, but Spain played probably the best I’ve ever seen them play so they thoroughly deserved to be in the final. But what a way to end a career! It was a massive rollercoaster of a game – my whole career has been a rollercoaster with ups and downs and they were all in that game. We were down for most of the game and we kept bringing it back and then in the end it was over to our Co-Captain Terry Bywater to step up to the plate and he did – and he did it in fine style as well.
“I’ve had a 26 year career and my family is always in my mind – they’re what I think about when I first wake up and they’re what I think of when I go to sleep, especially when we’re away. For me to have a 26 year career, I couldn’t do it without we have to make choices along the way – and they’re hard choices – but our families have to make those choices as well. Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to make those choices. My family are always there.”
For full match statistics click here https://www.rio2016.com/en/paralympics/wheelchair-basketball-schedule-and-results/day-17