The Australian Emus opened the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championships by dismantling hosts Thailand 119-44.
In an impressive debut, the Australians dominated the contest, winning the rebound count 64-28, and forcing 28 turnovers and dishing out 26 assists as they held their Thai opponents to 10 points or less in three of the four quarters.
Every Australian hit the court to play at least 14 minutes and add 4 points or more. The quartet of Aiden Krause (19 points), Sean Macdonald (16 points), Kody Stattmann (15 points) and Tyler Robertson (14 points) all registered double digits in scoring, while Samson Froling, Kyle Bowen and Callum Dalton all pulled down 11 rebounds each.
Callum Dalton, Tyler Robertson & Isaiah Lee | Credit: FIBA
Sean Macdonald wasted no time in getting the first points of the game courtesy of a wide open three-pointer on Australia’s first possession. Thailand responded with a try of their own via Pongsakorn Jaimsawad to keep things close early. Tyler Robertson was injected into the game early with immediate success, as he wad found open beyond the arc by Isaiah Lee for a triple of his own. Lee drained one of his own to keep the scoring ticking over, but Australia’s shooting from deep would go cold. Second chance opportunities and a run of steals that Australia capitalised on in transition saw the Emus open up a big 28-9 lead at the end of the first period.
Macdonald helped extend the margin with a traditional three-point play early on in the second term. Josh Gatbel made a lay-up, but their 9-0 run was halted when Thailand finally managed to hit a shot courtesy of a Sahatsawat Inmaphan three-pointer. Macdonald and then Aiden Krause returned fire, ensuring the Australians went into half time leading by 34 points and in a commanding position.
In the third term, the game opened up a little for both sides. Kody Stattmann delivered 5 straight points for the Emus, but a couple of turnovers resulted in a Thai score at the other end. Stattmann’s hot shooting continued as he drained a second triple for the term. When he slammed home a dunk in transition, he had scored 12 points inside the first 5 minutes of the period to push the margin out to 43 in favour of the Australians. With Stattmann earning a well-deserved break, Krause and then Robertson took over the scoring. Robertson was on fire, draining two threes of his own in scoring 10 points for the term as Australia’s lead ballooned to 48 at the final break. However, while the Emus scored 33, the Thais added 19 points of their own as they took advantage of some sloppy turnovers by the Aussies.
Like he did to open the game, Macdonald dialed long distance to get things moving while Dalton flushed home a dunk not long after. The Emus were lining up for buckets as they would continue to pile on the pressure on their way to a big 33-6 final period to run out easy winners by 75 point winners.
Australia shot better than 53% from the field, including 15-41 from beyond the three-point arc, but just 6-11 from the charity stripe. They did rack up a staggering 18 steals, scoring 36 points on turnovers. Such was the Emus' depth of talent, their bench outscored the entire Thai team 62-44.
The Emus will next tackle Bahrain at 1:30pm AEST on Tuesday, 6 August. Bahrain lost their opening game to New Zealand 62-94, with just one player scoring in double figures. The contest will be streamed live via The Pick and Roll’s Facebook page.
Emus Schedule (all times AEST)
5 August: Australia defeated Thailand 119-44 6 August: Australia vs Bahrain @ 1:30pm 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