Australia have taken care of business in accounting for Chinese Taipei by 20 points in Melbourne to continue their unbeaten start to the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers.
Mitch Creek was the star of the show for the Australians, scoring a team-best 18 points to be the most dominant player on court, as Australia used their physical size and height advantage to great effect. With the win, Australia now progresses to the next round of qualifying for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Chinese Taipei opened proceedings with the first score on a wide open triple from the wing. Daniel Kickert responded with a three of his own on the very next possession. On the Boomers next possession, Mitch Creek got to the rack with a nice scoop on the layup. A Jason Cadee floater and a three-point play impressed, and when Cadee again found himself open in the paint, the Boomers had gone on a 10-0 run yo open up a 7 point lead.
Long-Mao Hu connected on two early triples to keep Chinese Taipei to within 4. But Nick Kay found Creek open on the backdoor for a dunk to push the lead back out to 6. Quincy Davis posted up Angus Brandt to finish a nice spin move for the and-1 down low to try to keen Chinese Taipei in touch 22-15.
The Boomers' offensive rhythm was on song early, with good spacing, ball movement and patience, enabling some great decision-making against the zone. They would lead 26-15 at the end of the first, with Creek in dominant form in posting 8 points with Australia shooting 72% from the field and clearly owning the paint.
Both sides went through a dry spell early on in the second half, a drought punctuated by a missed open dunk by Angus Brandt. However Australia's scoring got back on track courtesy of a wrap around assist delivered by Creek to Kay to go up 32-22. That score broke the shackles, as Cameron Gliddon followed with a triple to force Chinese Taipei to call timeout. While the visitors would not give up, Nathan Sobey hit a triple from the corner that saw Australia extend their lead to 22 at the half time break.
Australia were dominating the paint, pulling down 31 first-half board compared to Chinese Taipei, and scoring 32 points in the paint compared to just 8 by the visitors.
Hodgson's size and presence forced a missed to open the second half, and Kickert capitalised at the other end. Gliddon's hot-shooting from the game against the Philippines was carried over, draining an NBA-distance three-pointer. Davis delivered a highlight-reel put-pack dunk at the other end, but Chinese Taipei still trailed by 23.
Back-to-back buckets by Mitch Creek on transition, including a thunderous hammer dunk, had him up to 18 points and Australia on the road to blowing out the margin. Mitch Norton was doing his best to replicate the defensive prowess of Damian Martin on Chinese Taipei guard Ying-Chu Chen.
Great ball movement by the Boomers saw Hodgson slide in for a massive reverse dunk much to the delight of the Melbourne crowd. Despite threatening to blow out the margin, Australia could not find a way to do so, heading into the final change leading 68-49 following a tip-in by McCarron at the buzzer in a period won 24-23 by the visitors. A Hogdson throw down opened the scoring in the final term that put Australia back up by 21. Sobey's next score went one better on the highlight-reel barometer level.
Chen was almost playing a lone hand for Chinese Taipei, scoring his 22nd points on a nice floater. Jess Wagstaff strolled in for a three-pointer on the trail to keep Australia ahead by 22. Davis responded with a two-handed jam. Chinese would go on a mini-run that had them claw back the margin to 16 points, albeit with Creek on the bench, resulting in Lemanis calling a timeout.
Kay connected on a three-pointer from the top of the key immediately out of the timeout with the shot-clock winding down. While the visitors never gave up, Australia proved just far too strong in prevailing 88-68 in front of a crowd of 4,207 fans.
Creek was the standout for the Australian's, barely playing in the second half yet finishing with a team-best 18 points on a perfect 9-9 shooting with 9 rebounds. McCarron added 11 points, Hodgson 10, as the Boomers had all players bar Mitch Norton add to the scoring. Chen was easily the best for the visitors, exploding for 22 points on 8-15 shooting. Davis added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Australia won the rebound count by 20 and outscored their opponents by 16 points in the paint to highlight their physical dominance over Chinese Taipei. Australia remain unbeaten to open the FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers, and now boast a 4-0 record.