Boomers down Angola to enter Stankovic Cup final + VIDEO

Boomers down Angola to enter Stankovic Cup final + VIDEO

Australia’s men’s basketball team has advanced to the final of the Boris Stankovic Continental Cup undefeated after downing Angola in Kunshan City, China by ten points, 70-60.

[Box Score]


Ahead 9-0 in the early stages the Boomers trailed by as many as ten points in the third quarter before powering home with an 18-6 run to close out the game in style.

198cm swing man Liam Rush was equal top scorer for the Boomers with 12 points in only his third game for Australia, with eight of those points coming in an inspired fourth quarter, while Oscar Forman paced Australia with a dozen points. Angola’s Miguel Kiala led all scorers with 17 points.

Victories over Turkey and China on Friday and Saturday mean Australia will play the winner of tonight’s match between China and Turkey in the Stankovic Cup final on Monday night at 10:30pm AET.

Boomers head coach Brett Brown rested many of his starters in the second half with an eye on Monday’s final and was pleased that his bench players stepped up to get the job done.

“I want to compliment Liam Rush,” Brown said. “He had 12 points and some big defensive plays and it’s on the back of that defence that he can make this team regularly. He was great tonight.

“Hugh Greenwood is a 17 year old kid and he debuted and he was good and Luke Schenscher was really a fantastic stabilizer and was a significant reason we got the win.

“I’ve mentioned some players but we really had twelve contributors to the effort because I was trying to be smart on how to rotate people with an eye on the final tomorrow night.

“When you have such a young team that hasn’t played a lot together you get peaks and valleys in a game but at crucial moments when we were down they found a way to regroup and run some good stuff and it’s a characteristic that has really stood out with this touring team.

“We’ve won three games in the row against European, Asian and African opponents and the guys are excited and happy with themselves and they’re going into a finals game with a felling like they’ve achieved something.

“We know what we’re going into tomorrow night; China has a bunch of Olympians, they’re playing with retribution in mind and they’re on their home court, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Dellavedova, Harvey, Crawford, Forman and Ogilvy started for Australia and the Boomers jumped out to an early 9-0 lead before Angola got its first points at the free throw line to open its account after nearly four minutes of play.

Australia tried to win the game right there and then with long range daggers but when Forman, Harvey and Crawford all missed three-point shots and Angola dropped in a few of their own the scores were close to even, with Australia up by one, 13-12.

Jacob Holmes owned the last two minutes of the opening quarter and his back-to-back three pointers gave Australia a seven point edge after one period, 19-12.

Angola’s physicality continued to disrupt the Aussie offence in the second quarter but free throws and a nifty Dellavedova drive gave the Boomers their biggest lead of the game four minutes before half time, 28-18.

But it was all Angola in the final minutes of the half as they drained three three-pointers, including a buzzer beater on the half time siren, as part of a 14-1 run that sent the Africans galloping into the locker room on a high and ahead by two points, 31-29.

The Africans kept blazing away after the break and put on eight unanswered points to give them a ten point buffer, 39-29, after two blistering minutes of play.

Stephen Weigh then got to free throw line and shot 2-of-2 to keep Australia alive before Rush made a nice inside move, Schenscher got an offensive rebound and scored and Forman drained a three to cap a 9-0 Aussie run.

Australia regained the lead on a Forman free throw, 42-41, and was up three when Majok won the race down the floor for a layup before Angola nailed another two three-pointers to maintain a two point lead after three quarters of play, 48-46.

Two Liam Rush three-pointers in the first two minutes of the quarter saw four lead changes in the opening stages of the final stanza but despite the inspiration Australia could not get over the hump.

That was until Rush continued his one man show by stealing the ball and throwing down a fast break dunk to put Australia up by two, 56-54, Schenscher hit another two free throws and Weigh made a layup to give the Boomers a six point buffer with five minutes to play.

Angola responded with a big dunk but Damian Martin sat the Africans down with his first three-pointer of the game that put the Boomers up by seven with three minutes to play.

Angola scored twice more to stay alive at the death but five Oscar Forman points in the final minute took all the pressure off Australia, who used an 18-6 finishing run to close out the game ten point winners, 70-60.

Australia won the rebound count 43-32, with guard Martin and centre Schenscher leading the way with 7 apiece, and shot 7-of-22 from the three-point line.

Quarter by quarter:
1. AUS 19 ANG 12
H: ANG 31 AUS 29 (19-10)
3: ANG 48 AUS 46 (17-17)
F: AUS 70 ANG 60 (24-12)

AUSTRALIA 70 (Liam Rush 12, Oscar Forman 12, Stephen Weigh 7) bt
ANGOLA 60 (Miguel Kiala 17, Roberto Fortes 14, Milton Barros 14)
at Boris Stankovic Continental Cupin Kunshan City, China

Previous results at tournament:

Friday – AUS 70 bt TUR 54 ; CHN 88 bt ANG 62
Saturday – TUR 60 bt ANG 37 ; AUS 76 bt CHN 74
Sunday – AUS 70 bt ANG 60 ; CHN v TUR 9:30pm AET