Bahrain unable to slow the Emu train
The Emu’s made it two wins in a row after they cruised to a 107-42 victory over Bahrain at the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championships in Thailand.
Samson Froling led six Australians who scored in double figures, adding a game-high 21 points and 8 rebounds as the Emus overpowered their Asian opponents in the paint. Their superior size saw them pull down 36 offensive rebounds to just 7, while scoring 64 points to 20 inside the key on their way to a 65 point victory.
As with their big opening win against Thailand, Australia started strongly against Bahrain. Tyler Robertson scored on a lay-up to get the scoring going, but Bahrain responded with a three-pointer to take a 1 point lead in the opening minute. A trip to the charity stripe saw Samson Froling come away with a point to tie the game up, and when Robertson fed Isaiah Lee for the three, Australia would never trail again as they went on a 14-0 run with Froling draining a three and converting a traditional three-point play. Froling would connect on another trey late in the term to finish with 12 points for the period as the Emus took a 14 point lead into the first break.
Tamuri Wigness and Tyler Robertson | Credit: FIBA
Australia's shooting went quiet, but second chance opportunities were starting to mount in their favour to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Joshua Gatbel relished his opportunity late in the term, scoring back-to-back baskets to push the lead out to 24 points in the Emu's favour heading into half time. While scoring 25 points in the period, Australia have up 15 points to Bahrain, and this was sure to be on head coach Darren Perry's agenda in speaking to his squad during the break.
The Emu's lifted their defensive intensity in the third period, restricting their Asian opponents to just 9 points. Kody Stattmann was right in the thick of the action, connected from long distance, coming up with steals, dishing out assists and hitting free throws. Robertson was also seemingly involved in every play, but was unable to convert his scoring opportunities. In fact, the Emus would go more than 4 minutes without scoring, squandering a myriad of open shots and second chance opportunities. Keli Leaupepe finally scored on a lay-up to end the drought to reignite Australia's offense. They would finish the third in a flurry, extending their big lead to 46 points.
Froling, Lee and Callum Dalton converted on their opportunities early, to ensure Australia maintained their momentum. It paved the way for Tamuri Wigness to take over late, ensuring Australia powered to a second straight convincing win to open the tournament.
While the Emus did not enjoy their finest shooting game, hitting at just 46% from the field, they once again had a long list of valuable contributors throughout the game. Leaupepe registered a 12 point and 12 rebound double-double, while Kyle Bowen did the same with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Stattmann also logged 12 points, while Gatbel and Dalton each added 11 points each.
New Zealand is Australia's next opponent to close out the group stage, with their Oceania rivals having also accounted for Bahrain and hosts Thailand with relative ease. To be played at 1:30pm AEST on Tuesday, 7 August, the winner will advance directly to the quarterfinals, while the loser will need to play another game to qualify for the right to advance. Watch the game live on The Pick and Roll Facebook page.
Emus Schedule (all times AEST)
5 August: Australia defeated Thailand 119-44 6 August: Australia defeated Bahrain 107-42 7 August: Australia vs New Zealand @ 1:30pm 8 August: Qualification for Quarter-Finals (2nd & 3rd placed teams) 9 August: Quarter-Finals 10 August: Semi-Finals 11 August: Finals / Classification