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2014 FIBA World Cup: Korea prove no match for the Boomers
The Australian Boomers have defeated Korea 89-55, a much need morale-boosting win in their second match of the 2014 FIBA World Cup. With this victory, they look to get their campaign back on track after dropping their first match of the tournament. Forward Joe Ingles took it to Korea early in the match and would lead the Boomers with 17 points on 7/8 shooting, while Aron Baynes again contributed with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
— FIBA (@FIBA) August 31, 2014
As expected, the size of the Boomers was too much for the shorter Koreans as they were worn down at both ends of the floor. The Boomers now find themselves right in the mix in Group D and will look to convert their newfound momentum into further victories with three group matches remaining to be played in Gran Canaria, Spain.
With a strong start - the key to removing any doubt that may have crept into their mindset after their opening loss to Slovenia - the Boomers looked to exploit Korea's lack of size early by consistently going inside to Baynes. This resulted in double teams and Ryan Broekhoff coming off screens to bury his first two 3-point attempts. After a Baynes hook shot and Ingles breakaway dunk, the Boomers were up 10-0 after the first 3 minutes of play and looked to have put their previous loss behind them. Although Australia remained aggressive on offense, the shots started to drop for Korea as they put together a 13-4 run to quickly get back in the contest mid-way through the quarter.
With Dante Exum assuming point guard duties while Matthew Dellavedova took a rest, the Boomers offense stalled as Exum used up the shot clock and turned the ball over. Once Dellavedova returned, the offense clicked back into gear and a Dellavedova 3-pointer allowed the Boomers to take the advantage 26-16 after 10 minutes of play.
The Boomers looked to go small at the start of the second quarter, but Korea showed they could match it with the likes of Brock Motum inside on defense as the scoring dried up. Baynes would return shortly after with dunks by himself and Ingles pushing the buffer back out to double figures at 31-21, as the Boomers looked to put together a consistent stretch of scoring and not allow their opponents back into the match.
Broekhoff's third triple of the half happened as Baynes again passed well out of a double team situation, and Ingles dropping his first from downtown on a step back 3-pointer further pushed the momentum Australia's way in the quarter. With renewed confidence, the Boomers looked to run at every opportunity with their defense creating their offense resulting in easy field goals in the process.
Having held the Koreans to just 4 points with 3 minutes left in the quarter, a couple of 3-pointers late in the half meant the quarter was not all Australia's. However, they would still enjoy a handy lead at the main break 44-29. The Boomers' size was evident through the first two quarters behind a rebounding advantage of 25-12, while the pressure defense that resulted in pushing the ball on offense saw the Boomers enjoy 10 fast break points for the half.
Ingles would start the second half with the same intensity on offense he showed during his 12 first half points. He followed up with yet another breakaway basket by stealing the inbounds pass and hitting the corner 3-pointer as the lead pushed out to 24 behind an 11-0 run midway through the quarter. The sting looked to go out of the match as the quarter progressed when Korean forward Sekeun Oh was stretched from the floor with a neck injury after contesting a Cameron Bairstow lay-up. He would join Tae-Jong Moon on the sidelines who had earlier suffered an arm injury in the first half.
Having outscored Korea 22-12 in the third term, the Boomers would head into the final quarter with a 66-41 lead and enjoy the opportunity to spread court time among the bench players. The final quarter would turn into nothing more than a training run, enabling all Boomers to add to the score sheet in the 34-point victory.
The Boomers strength was telling with an overall rebounding dominance of 47-18 while points in the paint were in Australia's favour 50-22. Head coach Andrej Lemanis would be happy with their consistent scoring across all quarters where they managed to score inside, on the break and from the perimeter.
Cameron Bairstow who embraced his increased minutes in scoring 13 points on 6/7 shooting, noted the improved defensive performance by the Boomers;
“I think we did a really good job on the defensive side of the ball in holding Korea to just 55 points,” Bairstow said.
“We knew coming in that the three-point shot was their main focus, so holding them to 20% (5-of-25 3FG) from three-point range was one of the biggest keys to the game.Then on the boards we did a good job of limiting their offensive rebounds and really taking advantage of it on our end.”
The Australians will now enjoy a day off along with their Group D counterparts, which will be key to ensure they are ready for their biggest test of the group stage yet; a huge match against the might of Lithuania. This match could go a long way to dictating the Boomers' destiny in the tournament, as they aspire to at least finish in the top three of the group, in order to avoid a sudden death round of 16 matches that would more than likely be against Team USA.
The Boomers' game against Lithuania will be on Wednesday, 3 September, broadcast live on ABC2 from 1:25am AEST.
Group D Team Previews
Australia lost to Slovenia 80-90 Australia defeated Korea 89-55 Lithuania (Preview) - 3 September 2014, 1:26am AEST Mexico (Preview) - 3 September 2014, 9:26pm AEST Angola (Preview) - 4 September 2014, 9:26pm AEST