Greece steamrolls shorthanded Boomers

Greece steamrolls shorthanded Boomers

Australia’s men’s basketball team let a first half lead slip away in their Acropolis Tournament match against Greece and fell to the European giants 89-69 in Athens this morning.

Australia led by four points at the main break before a 30-13 third-quarter onslaught put Greece ahead for good.

David Andersen top scored for Australia with 13 points while David Barlow (12 points) and Joe Ingles (8 points) were effective, but without Chris Anstey (ankle) and Matt Nielsen still on the mend and playing limited minutes (virus) the Boomers lacked size and depth.

Reigning Acropolis Tournament MVP Vasilis Spanoulis led all scorers with 18 points and Panathinaikos forward Antonis Fotsis contributed 16 points.

Andersen’s former CSKA Moscow team mate and 2006 European Player of the Year, Theodoros Papaloukas, chimed in with 12 points.

Australia Post Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian was left ruing his depleted front line.

“Over the course of 40 minutes, as time went on, we just got overpowered,” he said.

“They picked us up full-court and pressed us for the entire second half and just grinded us down.

“We played with a small line-up and we stayed competitive for a half but as the game wore on it showed the important thing for us as we move forward is to get our ‘bigs’ going.

“We don’t have a healthy Matt Nielsen right now, Bogut isn’t with us and Anstey didn’t play.

Anstey is doubtful for the Boomers match against Brazil tomorrow morning and the Boomers will have their work cut out against the athletic South Americans who, without a number of their stars, defeated Croatia 86-77 this morning.

Croatia defeated Australia by two points yesterday, 71-69.

The twenty point loss is not all doom and gloom for the Boomers, who are at a different stage in their Olympic preparation to the other three teams at the Acropolis Tournament.

Greece, Brazil and Croatia are all vying for a Beijing berth via next week’s pre-Olympic tournament in Athens and have tailored their preparation to be at full strength right now.

The Boomers still have NBA star Andrew Bogut to add into the mix at a training camp on the Gold Coast next week and will play three international matches at the FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament in China and a one-off international against the USA in advance of Beijing.

“One of the things we haven’t had a lot of is an opportunity to play something like this and come home and have a camp and make adjustments before we go to the Games,” Goorjian said.

“So we’re trying to take this in stride and learn and get better.

“It will help our mindset towards our next camp and where we want to go and where we need to go if we’re going to be competitive in Beijing.

“I think we can be, but we need everyone together and we need this experience. These scores are irrelevant as long as we learn lessons.”

Quarter by quarter:
1. AUS 18 GRE 17
H: AUS 40 GRE 36 (22-19)
3: GRE 66 AUS 53 (30-13)
F: GRE 89 AUS 69 (23-16)

GREECE 89 – Vasilis Spanoulis 18, Antonis Fotsis 16, Theodoros Papaloukas 12 bt
AUSTRALIA 69 – David Andersen 13, David Barlow 12, Joe Ingles 8
at Acropolis Tournament, Athens

The Australian Government, through the Australian Sports Commission, invests in and supports Basketball Australia to develop basketball at all levels in Australia.