The Australian men’s basketball team lost a thrilling opening game at the Acropolis Tournament in Athens this morning, falling to Croatia by two points, 71-69.
The Australia Post Boomers recovered from an eight point half time deficit to lead in the final period before poor shooting and some questionable decision making down the stretch ultimately led to their demise.
Australia connected on only 2-of-28 three-point attempts after the first quarter.
Reigning NBL MVP Chris Anstey top scored for Australia with 12 points while CJ Bruton added 11 points. Patrick Mills and Brad Newley chipped in 10 points apiece.
Croatia, along with Brazil and Greece at the Acropolis Tournament, is in the final stages of preparation for the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament to be held in Athens next week while Australia, as Oceania Champion, has already claimed its Beijing berth.
The Australia Post Boomers continue their Olympic preparation with games against European giants Greece tomorrow and Latino legends Brazil on Thursday before returning home on Saturday.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight,” Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian said.
“We are still in a process of getting Matty Nielsen and Dave Andersen slotted in and the next two games are going to be really important for us.”
Croatia’s Davor Kus and Marko Popovic were equal game high-scorers with 16 points.
Quarter by quarter:
1. CRO 24 AUS 20
H: CRO 48 AUS 40 (24-20)
3: CRO 60 AUS 53 (12-13)
F: CRO 71 AUS 69 (11-16)
CROATIA 71 – Davor Kus 16, Marko Popovic 16, Sandro Nicevic 11 bt
AUSTRALIA 69 – Chris Anstey 12, CJ Bruton 11, Patrick Mills 10, Brad Newley 10
at Acropolis Tournament, Athens
T: 02 9469 7218
M: 0423 378 644