The Australia Post Boomers have fallen one point shy of their seventh straight win after losing to Croatia in Rijeka this morning, 82-81.
Australia fought back from a 6-point half time deficit to lead by as many as seven points in the third quarter before the hosts found their range and stole victory.
The reigning Most Valuable Player of the Croatian domestic basketball league, Marko Popovic, nailed three 3-pointers in the last five minutes of the match to lead all scorers with 18 points.
Melbourne Tigers guard David Barlow top scored for Australia with 17 points while Chris Anstey was the best of the bigs and finished with 12 points. Point guard pair CJ Bruton and Patrick Mills added 11 points each in support.
Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian was philosophical about the loss.
“Everyone got some court time and I played a lot of different combinations and we’re realizing what works and what doesn’t,” he said.
“Our defence wasn’t there at the level it has been but we saw patches of it in the third quarter and we will need to get back to what we’re good at if we’re going to win games in Athens.”
The Boomers depart Croatia on Saturday morning bound for Athens where they will contest the Acropolis Tournament against Croatia, Brazil and Greece before returning to Australia on July 12.
The Boomers will then undergo a final training camp on the Gold Coast from July 15-23 before contesting the FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament for men in Nanjing, China, and a one-off international friendly against the US in Shanghai on August 5.
Quarter by quarter:
1. CRO 24 AUS 19
H: CRO 41 AUS 35 (17-16)
3: AUS 58 CRO 54 (23-17)
F: CRO 82 AUS 81 (28-23)
CROATIA 82 – Marko Popovic 18, Sandro Nicevic 12, Darko Kus 10 bt
AUSTRALIA 81 – David Barlow 17, Chris Anstey 12, Patrick Mills 11, CJ Bruton 11
at Gradska Sportske Dvorana, Rijeka, Croatia
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