Australian Boomers FIBA World Cup Qualifier score against China, report
An inexperienced Boomers side – at least at international level – narrowly escaped their FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifier against China, 76-69.
With six starters, the Boomers, led by cool-headed NBA champion Matthew Dellavedova, found a way to hold off a Chinese side as they produced an intense finish that threatened to steal the game at Melbourne’s John Cain Arena ahead of an impressive 8113.
Without all but one of Tokyo’s Olympic bronze medalists, former NBA men Dellavedova and Thon Maker were the biggest names in a team filled with Australia’s best NBL players.
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Up 16 with four and a half minutes left in the third quarter, the wheels fell for the Boomers and China came back into the contest with an 18-4 run that sucked the life out of the Australian support and sparked it was already a Chinese parish contingent.
Powered by goliath Zhou Qi, who played in the NBL with South East Melbourne last season, China made the fourth-quarter opening bucket to tie it at 57 and, what looked like a routine result, suddenly had new life.
What followed was a delightful display of international basketball, with the two teams trading blow after blow until William McDowell-White popped up with 33 seconds left to freeze the game with a corner three just string. which put the Boomers in the lead seven.
Captain Delly is the heart and soul of this NBL-themed Boomers team and he just has a need for the ball that few can match. His composure under pressure provided key buckets for himself or his teammates and he led the way with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Dellavedova and teammate Mitch McCarron, who were 13, worked beautifully together as ball handlers.
The last time Jack McVeigh was at the John Cain Arena, he put Dellavedova, debutant Jack White and Melbourne United to the sword in the NBL semi-finals. This time it was China’s turn, all of their 11 points in the first half, while White, bound for Denver in the NBA Summer League, had 10.
Boomers coach Brian Goorjian said he was proud of this embodiment of the Boomers’ first game together.
“At first it’s the first game, we have a few more to come, but I’m really excited about what we did tonight and the way forward,” Goorjian said.
“(It’s) practically a totally new band.
“Selection was a really tough process and we brought the guys here who wanted to be in it and were committed to it and were excited to be Boomers.”
He paid tribute to Dellavedova, who had a huge influence on the young band.
“The guy next to me (Dellavedova) makes everything happen,” he said at the post-match press conference.
“Just his leadership, what he does on and off the pitch, all those little things. In this group, being a young group in a short time, I just lean on him, every minute of the day and he’s just a pro.
“Tonight he was exceptional.
“Really happy for him, happy for the group, looking forward to what’s next.”
Dellavedova said he was relishing his new role, which reminded him of his early years in the Australian system.
“Tonight we executed well, the intensity was there, the bench was great and everyone was involved,” he said.
“The buy-in and the excitement, you can feel it from everyone involved.
“It was just a lot of fun.”
Australia are now 4-0 in their World Cup qualifying campaign. They are safe for the next round, but will still want to pick up wins against Japan on Friday and then against China on Sunday to ensure their second-round match is as friendly as possible. I’ll need an abacus to explain qualifying, but basically 16 from Asia start, 12 advance to the second round, and from there seven teams advance to the big dance.
March protest first half
Several protesters were kicked out of John Cain Arena during the first half. The group were seen chanting slogans and waving flags, including one that read “Hong Kong Independence”. A man confronted a fan as police moved to remove the agitators – the fan retaliated by pushing him to the ground.
Mr Maker is back
It’s been four long years since we’ve seen Maker in Australian colors – the infamous 2018 karate kick against the Philippines. He raised his hand to say he wasn’t fit enough for Tokyo’s Olympic campaign, but it was heartwarming to see the giant center back there – even if he played like a man who didn’t. not been involved in organized play. since April. He didn’t make a bucket in the first half, but got on the board in the third with a sweet finish on a Dellavedova flat. It will be better for the race.
Qi as, Big Zhou
China’s biggest star, literally and physically, knows the John Cain Arena well. Usually wearing the south-east Melbourne Phoenix’s laser green, Big Zhou – pronounced Joe – at 216cm, was a constant obstacle for the Boomers. He did everything the Chinese did right, grabbing 17 rebounds to go with his 16 points.