Aussies start FIBA World Cup qualifying campaign in style
28 November 2017
BASKETBALL: Australia have started off their FIBA World Cup qualifying campaign with a bang, cracking the century against hosts Chinese Taipei with a 104-66 victory in their first game of the first window.
In a game touted to be a tough match-up at the best of times for Chinese Taipei, Australia’s size and strength proved to be too much for the undersized hosts.
Matt Hodgson (eight points, four rebounds) continued his form from the FIBA Asia Cup, dominating opponents and proving to be an imposing presence on court and while his numbers weren't as big as some team mates', his size is sure to be crucial as Australia look to advance through the Asian qualifiers.
Mitch Creek provided brute force for Australia’s starters, with the swingman’s athleticism and speed on the floor enough to earn him 12 points while as importantly, he finished off several defensive possessions with six rebounds and a steal.
Creek also had the highlight of the game with this monstrous dunk that sent Twitter into a frenzy:
Chinese Taipei was able to combat Australia’s size with their speed, pushing the pace on fast breaks to draw contact and earn some easy points from the free-throw line.
Quincy Davis III, a 203cm powerhouse, was a lone soldier for the hosts, scoring an impressive 17 points while also grabbing five rebounds and four steals in a game where he stood up against the imposing Boomers front court.
The outside was just as strong for Australia though, shooting 11/23 (48%) from beyond the arc, with Jason Cadee and Daniel Kickert lighting up the scoreboard.
The Sydney Kings three-point specialist in Cadee recorded 16 points and three assists while Brisbane Bullets' Kickert hit 3/5 from behind the arc and 3/3 from closer range to continue his hot shooting form in Australian colours.
As a team, the Boomers were solid defensively, pulling in six more offensive rebounds and ten more boards overall while also recording 15 steals, led by veteran Brad Newley with four of his own.
The physical nature of the game played into the Boomers favour as the points in the paint was the most telling statistic, out-muscling Chinese Taipei by 24 (62-38) and as the game wore on, Chris Goudling and Angus Brandt were able to also hit double-figures with the lead blowing out.
In his first game in Australian colours, Nathan Sobey was also able to contribute with five points, four assists ina promising performance for the Adelaide 36ers star who is looking to cement a spot in this talented Boomers roster.
The Boomers now look to move to the top of their pool on Monday with a game against Japan in Adelaide. The visitors lost their opening match against the Philippines and will be out for redemption, while Australia will showcase the best of basketball for a loud and proud crowd in the City of Churches.