Having scraped into the group of final eight teams with a victory in their final classification round game, the Aussies were paired with Group E’s top ranked side in the tournament, Spain. But the Aussies were too strong, led by the outstanding performance of star player Dante Exum, and have now booked a place in among the final four of nations remaining in medal contention.
Exum dominated the contest finishing with a tournament-high 33 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, to go along with 12 of 13 made free-throws.
Emmett Naar added 15 points, while Dane Pineau recorded a double-double of 13 points, 13 rebounds, and Nicholas Duncan added 12 points.
Spain were led by Alberto Diaz with 19 points, 13 of which came from the free-throw line, while Josep Perez finished with 12 points and was the only other Spanish player to finish in double-figure scoring.
Australia led the entire first quarter, sparked early by the game’s opening basket, a three-pointer from Exum, which was followed by seven consecutive points from Nicholas Duncan, taking a 19-15 lead at the first break.
Spain rallied to take a 20-19 lead before the Emus, on the back of a long-range scoring barrage, rattled off a 19-4 run to open up a 14 point lead, highlighted by an eight-point burst from Anthony Fisher in less than a minute of action, the Emus eventually taking a 45-31 lead into halftime.
The Emus remarkably opened up a lead of 24 points in the third term, outscoring Spain 21-17, taking a 66-48 lead into the final ten minutes.
Spain scored the first six points of the last quarter, before Exum steadied the ship for Australia with four-straight points of his own. But Group E’s top-ranked side was not done yet, as Alberto Diaz (who scored 17 of his 19 points in the final term) sparked Spain’s come-back, closing the gap to seven points, 70-63 with 5:29 remaining in the game.
Dante Exum steadied the ship for Australia, helping take the lead back out to 12 points. But once again the Spanish were not done, Australia holding just a six-point lead with one minute remaining, before eventually saluting, 87-76.
Australia will now meet Serbia, who defeated Croatia in their Quarter Final match-up 73-66. The Emus will need a better output than their first meeting in the tournament where they went down 57-78 to their upcoming opponent in the classification round.
The Australia V Serbia match tips off on Sunday morning at 2am AEST. Follow the game and all the Aussie results at www.prague2013.fiba.com.
Australian Emus 87 (Exum 33, Naar 15, Pineau 13, Duncan 13) defeated Spain 76 (Diaz 19, Perez 12)
Click here to watch highlights of Australia’s victory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pv0AaC72P90
Click here to watch highlights of Dante Exum in the victory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWdadgaKTXs