Boomers too good for Cote D'Ivoire

Boomers too good for Cote D'Ivoire

The Golden Star Boomers Australian men’s national basketball team have completed their preparations for the upcoming 2010 FIBA World Championships by comprehensively defeating African team Cote d’Ivoire, 80-59, to register a 3-0 sweep at the Villeurbanne International Tournament in Lyon, France.

The win gives the Boomers an impressive 9-1 record in their lead-up to the World Championships, which begin on Saturday in Turkey.  The Boomers’ sole loss of their 2010 international campaign thus far was in the final of the Stankovic Continental Cup at the hands of Slovenia in August.

The Boomers defeated top-15 world ranked teams Brazil and France earlier in the tournament in Lyon, and swept to a perfect 3-0 record by downing 2009 African championship runners-up Cote d’Ivoire on Tuesday night. 

Australia used a 22-11 third quarter scoring advantage to secure the win and finish their lead-up to the world titles in style. 

The Boomers’ trademark tough defence restricted the Africans to 23-of-67 (34%) shooting from the field, including allowing just 2-of-26 (8%) from the perimeter.  Australia also managed to limit their turnovers, which had been a cause of concern in their previous two matches in Lyon, to just 12 for the game.

Steven Markovic led the Boomers with 15 points, while Matt Nielsen added 13 and Joe Ingles 11.

Pape Philippe Amagou was Cote d’Ivoire’s top scorer with 16 points, and Herve Lamizana had 11.

Boomers’ head coach Brett Brown was pleased with the performance and in particular the team’s better protection of the ball.

“We had a chance to play the entire team tonight, and distribute the minutes to allow everyone to play, and everyone contributed to the win.  We now go into the world championship tournament excited and healthy,” said Brown.

“Reducing turnovers was a major focus for us in today’s game.  We, as a group, need to recognise that we cannot sustain the sort of turnovers we had against France and Brazil.  The team were very good on just trying to play within themselves."

Brown said Markovic’s breakout game for the Boomers was also pleasing.

“He’s been fantastic for us, he’s a great teammate,” Brown continued.  “His resurrection, given he hasn’t played basketball for a long time, has been excellent and it’s a luxury to have him on this team.”

Neither team could establish a decisive advantage in the first period, with Australia leading 17-16 at the first break.

The Boomers trailed briefly by two points in the second before taking the lead for good with 8:07 left in the half on a pair of Nielsen free throws.  At the end of the second quarter, Australia led 39-34 but it was after the long break that the Boomers would seize the game by the throat.

Australia outscored the Africans 12-2 to open the second half and following a two by Ingles with 5:32 remaining in the third the Boomers led, 51-36.

Australia won all four quarters, also edging the Africans in the fourth 19-14 to cruise to a comfortable 21-point victory.

The Boomers now travel direct to the 2010 FIBA World Championships, which will be held in Turkey from 28 August to 12 September, and will be broadcast in Australia live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.

Australia has been drawn in Group A for the 2010 FIBA World Championships and will open their quest for gold with a clash against Jordan on 28 August.  They then face Argentina (29 August), Germany (30 August), Serbia (1 September) and Angola (September 2).  All of the Boomers’ five preliminary round games will be held in the Turkish city of Kayseri.

Villeurbanne International Tournament (Lyon, France)
Australia 80 (Steven Markovic 15, Matt Nielsen 13, Joe Ingles 11)
Cote d’Ivoire 59
(Pape Philippe Amagou 16, Herve Lamizana 11).