Humphries leads Boomers past Kazakhstan
Australia opened the final qualifying window for the 2019 FIBA World Cup with a straightforward victory against Kazakhstan in Astana.
Boasting ten players making their Boomers debut, Australia confirmed they would finish in top spot in Group F courtesy of a commanding 81-60 road victory.
Nine of the Boomers debutants scored, led by NBA G League star Isaac Humphries’ 17 points and 7 rebounds. European-based fellow big man Jock Landale also piled on 10 points and 5 rebounds and Mitch Creek added 12 points and 5 assists as the Boomers dominated the paint at both ends.
While the home side started strongly, Australia slowly established themselves. However Humphries’ injection into the game allowed the Boomers to take control of the contest, with the Erie Bayhawks big man exploding for 8 points in 4 minutes as his country opened up a 7-point lead at the first break.
Kazakhstan tried to lift in the second period, resticting the Boomers scoring as the game slowed down. However some good work from Mitch Creek and Tim Coenraad ensured the Australians remained in control by 11 points at half-time.
Returning to the court with defensive intent, the Boomers opened with a 7-0 run to blow out the margin. Australia were never again threatened, as head coach Andrej Lemanis shared the workload in running all twelve players on the roster en route to the 21-point victory.
Australia owned the paint at both ends, out-rebounding Kazakhstan 48-29 and shooting 60% from the field, with the front court of Humphries, Landale, Mangok Mathiang (6 points and 5 rebounds) combining for 17 rebounds.
Mitch Creek added 12 points on 5-7 shooting with 5 assists in his return to the Boomers after becoming the eleventh Australian to play in the NBA this season with the Brooklyn Nets. NBL rookie Emmett Naar impressed in his debut at the point, adding 5 rebounds and 6 assists in an encouraging performance.
Australia’s depth was evident, with the Boomers bench outscoring Kazakhstan’s 44-4, with everyone on the roster hitting the court.
The complete their World Cup qualifying campaign against Iran at 1:30am AEDT on Monday morning, with an opportunity to make it seven straight wins with their only loss coming at the hands of Japan.
Thank you for loving Aussie hoops! From Kein, Damian and #TeamPnR