2014 FIBA World Cup: Boomers hold off Mexico for third straight win
Australia won their third match in a row at the 2014 FIBA World Cup by defeating Mexico 70-62 in a tight Group D contest in Gran Canaria. While the Boomers were again led by Aron Baynes with 21 points, they would take solace in the fact they were able to get the win while the in-form Joe Ingles went scoreless for the entire match.
Mexico managed to largely stop the run of the Boomers that was so well displayed against Lithuania, slowing the match down to be played on their terms. It was sharp-shooter Ryan Broekhoff who ultimately proved to be the difference, nailing four 3-pointers in the third quarter at a time Australia's offense was stagnant. A 26-13 advantage in the period enabled the upper hand to be gained and proved too much for Mexico to reel in.
Broekhoff shot 4/7 from long range on his way to 12 points while Brad Newley's 10 points, all coming in the first half, provided assistance to Baynes on the scoreboard. Australia's advantage on the boards of 39-31 also went a long way to securing the win in the at times scrappy affair.
The Boomers again went through Baynes on most offensive sets early in the game that saw the in-form centre score Australia's first 8 points. Coming off their victory less than 24 hours earlier against Lithuania, Head Coach Andrej Lemanis looked to work the substitutions earlier than usual with all starters taking their first rest by midway through the quarter as easy baskets to the Boomers saw them with an early lead at 14-7. Late field goals by the Mexicans enabled their supporters to get into the game as Australia kept their nose in front 22-19 at the end of the quarter.
While the Boomers looked to have lost any real purpose on offense as the second quarter got underway, Mexico took their first lead of the match on the first of two 3-pointers by guard Orlando Mendez as Mexico enjoyed a 31-25 advantage during the quarter. A defensive struggle would ensue for the remainder of the quarter that would see a total of just 24 combined points scored in the term as a late layup by Newley gave the Boomers a 32-21 edge at half time.
Play opened up for both teams at the start of the second half as Ryan Broekhoff found his touch on two early 3-pointers that added some much needed points to the Boomers cause. Consecutive jumpers from David Andersen enabled a 43-34 advantage as some feeling started to creep into the match. Andersen was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Jorge Gutierrez that resulted in free throws and a follow up 3-pointer for a quick 5-point swing back to the Mexicans.
Broekhoff however showed he could match the Mexicans from long range as his fourth from down town in the quarter had the buffer quickly out to 14 points nearing the end of the quarter. Nathan Jawai was moving with more ease at both ends of the floor in this match than we have seen all world cup and a great dish to Cameron Bairstow for a late basket saw Australia take a useful 59-45 lead heading into the last quarter.
Mexico would start the final term with a 10-2 run to quickly put the game back in the balance at 61-55. Mexico's key big man Gustavo Ayon soon after picked up his 4th foul with 6 minutes to play that would see Mexico vulnerable on the defensive end against the aggressive Australians. The Boomers however struggled to take full advantage as they slowed their play to the half court offense being favoured by the Mexicans. Scoring their lowest total of points of any quarter played at this World Cup, 11 points in the quarter still managed to be enough for the Boomers to hold on for the 8-point win. #454548980 / gettyimages.com Pleased with the win, Coach Andrej Lemanis was relieved to get through after the emotional game against Lithuania less than 24 hours earlier;
“It was always going to be really tough for us on the back of last night’s energy-draining game for us.
“Last night was a tough game emotionally for us – we put a lot of effort into that and then we had the short turnaround for what was a big game.
“I was really pleased with the way we played and how the guys were able grind out a win.”
Australia will now play Angola in their final Group D match and while this victory against Mexico secures a place in the next round of 16, it is still possible they could finish anywhere in the top 3 depending on other results.
Watch the Boomers take on Angola live on Thursday, 4 September from 9:25pm AEST. Watch live on ABC2 or via FIBA’s livebasketball.tv.
Heads Up: #TeamPnR’s Craig Rayner, Travis Reid and Damian Arsenis will be covering all the Australian Boomers games on Twitter via @OzBallPnR – use hashtag #GoBoomers