Aussie U17 men's team continue tour of China

Aussie U17 men's team continue tour of China

The Australian U17 men’s basketball team continued their successful run in their tour of China this week. Although they dropped a couple of games, the team picked up some wins under some difficult circumstances.

 The Aussies overcame some adversity in their match-up with China, having to adjust to some different officiating than they were used to. They executed well and picked up a one-point win against the home side, 82-81.  

Big man Nick Duncan had 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Dante Exum finished with 14 points. Mirko Djeric also had a solid game, delivering 13 points, while Ben Simmons added 10 points and five rebounds. 

They then dropped their game against European powerhouse Lithuania, 85-75. The positive for the Aussies was that the Lithuanians have a number of kids older than U17 age-group, none more evident than Lithuanian big man. At 20, he showed this to be an advantage, dropping 30 points for the game.

Australia’s own big man Nick Duncan also had a strong game, finishing with 20 points along with seven rebounds. Dante Exum also impressed. Despite a slow start to the tour, he well-and-truly was running now, dropping 17 points for the game.  The Aussies struggled through injury with Purchase and Luxford not taking to the floor, with Sam Johns expected to mix the next match-up against Denmark due to injury. 

The Aussies took to the floor with just nine players against Denmark but still managed the 11 point win, 77-66. The Danish side were also an older group of players, with a number of them competing at the Albert Schweitzer tournament, but this didn’t stop the Aussies from registering a big victory.  

Dante and Josh Dekson both had 20 points each, while Nick Duncan registered another double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds.  

“We ran them off the floor in the first half to lead 40-25 but their size and our lack of defence wore us down. We're getting better,” said head coach of the Australian U17 side Guy Molloy.

Finally, after a strong run, the Aussies succumbed to China 70-62. After a big travel day, the side were flat, said Molloy, with the Aussie ball-carriers struggling under the tough conditions.

Exum finished with 13 points while Nick Duncan reeled in seven rebounds.

Two days remain in the tour before the Aussies return home.