England has stormed back into medal calculations at the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a breath taking victory over India in Townsville. Needing to win to keep their quarter-final hopes alive, England responded in the best possible fashion as they prevailed 100-54 during a barnstorming performance.
No less than five players reached double figures headlined by Adam Thoseby, who connected on 4/8 attempts from the three-point line to post a team-high 20 points along with five assists and three rebounds, while Jamell Anderson (14 points and six steals), Kofi Josephs (14 points and five rebounds), Joseph Ikhinmwin (12 points) and Robert Gilchrist (11 points) all provided invaluable contributions. Shane Walker (nine points and eight rebounds) flirted with a double-double before being subbed late in the game, but by that stage, the contest was well and truly over and it was party time in the Ville.
“It was good,” Thoseby said. “After a rough start here, I thought we needed to come out here and play a lot better than what we did. We needed to start at the defensive end especially, so it was good that we came out and did that.”
Any hope of a fast start was snuffed out by India during the first quarter as shots failed to drop in the same manner as the opening game of the competition against Scotland. England’s pressure on the defensive end this time was a game changer, however, as they forced India into 11 turnovers inside the opening seven minutes of the contest as Anderson was injected into the game with immediate impact. The swingman knocked down a triple with his first look before stealing the inbound pass and slamming it home to provide a much-needed spark.
With India struggling to deal with England’s swarming defence, Thoseby began to splash open shots to go into quarter-time leading 19-15.
"Winning tonight by such a huge margin and making triple figures was a great confidence boost,” Thoseby said. “We obviously needed the win tonight to get through and with our early start tomorrow. It's time to rest now and come back stronger tomorrow."
With the loser of today’s game effectively knocked out of the tournament, England was intent on ensuring it wasn’t them and their play reflected that in the second term. Anderson again provided scoring punch from the perimeter as Gilchrist, Walker and Ikhinmwin all imposed themselves in the paint. For India, Aravind Annadurai (22 points and five rebounds) was their only real scoring threat and with him well contained, England was able to go into half-time leading 46-24.
"Defensively we had a good game,” coach Andreas Kapoulas said. “We shared the ball and found our guy and that's our game. The most important thing right now is the next game. We came back from a loss yesterday and built ourselves up and we will concentrate now on tomorrow's game."
With an 18-point cushion at half-time – built on a 12-0 advantage from fast break points – England did as they pleased in the second half as Kapoulas was able to rotate through his squad. Orlan Jackman (eight points and three assists) began to get active before Thoseby knocked down back-to-back triples. With Josephs also heating up from the perimeter, the game was split wide open as England went into three-quarter-time leading 75-35. The finishing touches of a clinical display were put on during the final frame as Josephs hit a triple with seven seconds to play to push the total past 100. England now face a must-win game against Cameroon tomorrow to advance to Tuesday’s quarter-finals in Cairns.