Needing to win against the Boomers to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, a desprate Iran rode the support of their home crowd in Tehran to upset Australia 85-74 despite big games from Mitch Creek and Tom Wilson.
Having already confirmed their place at the World Cup and the top seeding in Group F, the Boomers were led by Mitch Creek’s 20 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss. Youngster Tom Wilson poured in 16 points on 5-11 three-point shooting, but Australia were uncharacteristically outscored 20-42 in the paint while coughing up 14 turnovers compared to just 5 committed by Iran.
Back court duo Behnam Yakhchali and Mohammad Jamshidi torched the Boomers for 46 points, doing most of their damage in the first half as Iran took the lead for good after the opening 2:30 of the game.
While Iran came out firing to open the game, turnovers hurt the Boomers early. The home side made them pay, scoring off the pick and roll with relative easy while converting the turnovers into baskets made, to have Australia on the back foot trailing by 10 at quarter time.
The second term was much of the same, as Iran, buoyed by the support of a bostrous home crowd, extended the margin to 13 at the main break.
Australia started to find their way offensively in the second half, with Creek and Tim Coenraad finding the bottom of the net. And while Australia looked to threaten on many occasions, Iran found a response every time to push the margin back out to double digits.
With the game almost beyond reach, Wilson caught fire late by draining three triples with 3 minutes remaining. Yet like they had done all game, Iran lifted again to close out the game and earn much-deserved 11 point win.
Australia’s depth was on display once again, with the bench providing 35 points compared to Iran’s 10. However on this occasion, Australia shot a lowly 37% from the field while Iran connected on 50% to be the more efficient side on the night.
Creek and Wilson were Australia’s only players to score in double figures, with Jarrad Weeks adding 8 points and 5 assists, while Emmett Naar chimed in with 3 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Australia played without head coach Andrej Lemanis and centre Jock Landale, both leaving the team after their win against Kazakhstan to rejoin their professional teams knowing top seed in Group F had been secured. Playing with a roster of 11, assistant coach Adam Caporn took the reigns in his first game as head coach of the national team.
The loss broke Australia’s 7 game winning streak, but did nothing to alter their World Cup qualification status. The next time Australia assemble will be at camp prior to the two games against Team USA at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne just 2 weeks before the World Cup in China.
Limited tickets to the games against Team USA are available and can be purchased here.