The Australian men’s under-19 basketball team has notched its second win at the World Championship in Novi Sad, Serbia, defeating a determined Nigerian side 77-73.
Playing less than 24 hours after their victory against Turkey the Emus never trailed, but the result was not decided until the final seconds.
Sydney’s Andrew Ogilvy, fast emerging as a bona fide star on the international junior men’s stage, top scored for Australia with 19 points to go along with 4 steals and 2 blocked shots.
Wollongong’s Daniel Jackson was a stand out with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals while Canberra’s Pat Mills controlled the game with 16 points, 6 assists and 3 steals.
Ibrahim Yusuf led Nigeria with 18 points and 7 rebounds.
“This was always going to be a danger game for us,” Emus Head Coach Marty Clarke said.
“People talk about the sheer athleticism of the Nigerians, but this team has a lot of talent and we were respectful of that.
“Ben Dowdell in particular did a very good job of attacking them and he put a few of them in foul trouble as a result.
“I would have liked a wider points spread, but you take what you’re given.”
Coaches, players and high definition action images can be made available to the media upon request.
South Dragons recruit Shannon Seebohm opened the scoring on a jump shot assisted by Pat Mills before Nigeria responded with a four point run to take an early lead. Australia then scored six straight points to maintain the advantage in a torrid opening quarter and headed into the first break up by seven, 17-10.
A 3-pointer by Sydney’s Nate Tomlinson put the Emus up by ten at the start of the second period and the lead ballooned to thirteen points mid way through the quarter before Nigeria fought back to be within three at half time, 38-35.
A Solomon Alibi dunk mid way through the see-sawing third quarter took Nigeria to within one point of the lead, but consecutive jump shots from Pat Mills and Narre Warren’s Ben Louis provided the Aussies with some relief.
Nigeria lifted their intensity and with one minute to play in the third quarter the scores were tied at 55-all before Andrew Ogilvy scored four straight points to give Australia the edge after three quarters, 59-55.
A long bomb from Brisbane’s Chris Goulding and two from Wollongong’s Daniel Jackson gave the Emus some breathing space in the early stages of the final term, but Nigeria were determined to fight to the wire. With less than five minutes to play it was a three point game, before Ogilvy scored on a post move and followed it up with a three point play to put Australia up 74-68.
Nigeria, who lost their opening game of the tournament to Canada 82-60 after leading in the early stages, made one final surge and with 47 seconds remaining they trailed by only three points.
But an offensive rebound by South Australian Shannon Seebohm, which he followed with a steal in the final moments, secured a well fought victory for the Emus.
Australia will play their third and final pool game against Canada at 8:30pm AEST on Saturday July 14.
“Canada have some big men, they’re good shooters, they’ll be very organized and we’ll have to defend like crazy,” Clarke said.
Catch live stats of the game at www.serbia2007.fiba.com.