Rollers advance as top seed at Worlds

Rollers advance as top seed at Worlds

Just hours after the Australian Women's team completed the same feat, the Australian Men's Wheelchair Basketball team, the Rollers, have defeated reigning World Champions Canada to finish top of their pool after the Preliminary Round at the 2010 IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championships.

In a one-two punch for the Australians, both the Rollers and Gliders advance to the Quarter Finals as the number one seed from their respective pools after beating Canada overnight in Birmingham, England.

It was a smoother ride for the Rollers who led at each break, wearing the Canadians down over the 40 minutes to triumph 67-49.

The Rollers will play their Quarter Final on Wednesday, when they will come up against Poland who qualified fourth in Pool A behind Great Britain, the United States and Italy.

Australian guard Tige Simmons said the win was a confidence-booster for the team.

“It was nice to be able to get another one over the Beijing Olympic silver medallists and to further stamp our authority over them,” he said.

“We played a good 40 minutes tonight and had everyone contribute in a hard fought victory. They really pushed us early and made us chase and play a bit of catch-up basketball, however our defensive strategies really came into the fore late in the first half and set us up for the rest of the game. It was a pleasing win and now we look forward to Poland.”

Shaun Norris led the Australians with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Justin Eveson added a 17-point, 10 rebound double-double. Adam Lancia was the best of the Canadians with 14 points.

Canada opened the game with a blistering 6-0 run before the Aussies finally got on the board and recovered to lead by a point at the first break, 14-13.

A 3-pointer from Dylan Alcott put the Rollers ahead by seven late in the second term and they held off the Canadians to lead by nine at halftime, 32-23.

The Australians extended their lead by four points in the third quarter but when David Durepos drained a 3-pointer to reduce the margin to single figures with four minutes to play, the Canadians were still in it. But the Rollers extinguished any hope Canada had of claiming victory, forcing the defending champs into taking hail marys from long range as the Rollers doubled the lead again to win by 18 points.

The Rollers play Poland at 8.45pm AEST Wednesday July 14 in their Quarter Final match, followed by the Gliders against China at 3.30am AEST Thursday July 15. You can follow the games with a live video feed and LIVESTATS on the Tournament Website.

[Box Score]

Quarter by quarter:

1: AUS 14 CAN 13
H: AUS 32 CAN 23    (18-10)
3: AUS 51 CAN 38     (19-15)
F: AUS 67 CAN 49     (16-11)

AUSTRALIA 67 (S Norris 18, J Eveson 17, D Alcott 9) def
CANADA 49 (A Lancia 14, R Peter 10, D Durepos 8)
At National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, England.

2010 IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championship - Quarter Finals Schedule

Wednesday July 14:  11:45 Men: Australia v Poland      (8.45pm AEST)
                             12:15 Men: Canada v Italy
                             14:00 Women: USA v Great Britain
                             14:15 Women: Germany v Netherlands
                             16:15 Men: Great Britain v France
                             16:30 Men: USA v Turkey                                
                                    18:30 Women: Australia v China (3.30am AEST July 15)
18:45 Women: Canada v Japan

Thursday 15 July:     Semi Finals
Friday 16 July:         Classification Matches
Saturday 17 July:     Medal Matches

Photo courtesy of Kangaroo Photos