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Goulding shines in fourth Aussie win

15 August 2016

BASKETBALL: The Australian men’s basketball team has closed out the group stages with an emphatic 81-56 victory over Venezuela. 

The win saw Australia finish with four wins in the group stages for the first time in Olympic history. Australia finished second in group A and will face the third placed team from group B. The three group B games on Monday will determine the quarter finals line up. 

Australia raced to a 16-2 lead in the early stages of the game and were rarely challenged by Venezuela. Chris Goulding scored a game high 22 points and Joe Ingles added 11. Ryan Broekhoff and Andrew Bogut both contributed 10 points. 

Australia shot the ball well, connecting on 57.5% from the field and the Aussies also dominated on the boards, out rebounding their South American opponents 45-25. 

“It was game we wanted to win,” veteran forward David Andersen said after contributing eight points and four rebounds. 

“We ran away with it at the end, but now come the really important games.” 

Like his team mates, Andersen understands the critical nature of a knock out quarter final, having been part of the two previous Australian teams that lost at that stage of the tournament. 

“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “Now it’s the top eight teams in the world. It will be even more difficult (than the group games). We will focus on recover and being healthy. We don’t know who we play but when we find out we will get ready for that game.”

Australia has not been shy in articulating its goals in Rio, and Andersen again reiterated that fact. 

“We have big targets. We are aiming for the medals. We feel confident. We have played good games and to get four wins is great but it doesn’t count if we go out in the quarter finals.” 

With second place in the group guaranteed before Australia took the floor, Patty Mills sat out the game and coach Andrej Lemanis took the opportunity to share the minutes through the other 11 players. 

Centre Cameron Bairstow left the game with an apparent arm injury and he will have the injury assessed to determine his availability for Wednesday’s quarter final.

Coach Andrej Lemanis said it was important to manage workloads, particularly for those who have had big NBA seasons.

"Depth is one of our biggest strengths," he said.

"It's hard to play 12 guys in a game, so there was opportunity for some of those guys who have limited minutes so far to come in and play a role."

Kevin Diggerson

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