Australia have powered past New Zealand by 49 points to gain direct qualification to the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championships being held in Thailand.
Using their superior size, the Emus dominated the paint, outscoring New Zealand 68-48 while winning the rebound count 59-36. It was once again Samson Froling leading the way, pouring in an equal game-high 19 points with 11 rebounds, receiving great support from Kyle Bowen who also added 19 points with 9 rebounds.
Froling got the scoring started with a lay-up, but New Zealand immediately responded through Maxwell Darling, setting the tone for a closely fought opening quarter. Isaiah Lee fed Bowen inside for an early score which was followed up with a Tyler Robertson three-pointer not long after as the Emus took control. Over 2 minutes elapsed before New Zealand broke the scoring drought via two made free throws, and then closing the margin to just 1 on a shot by Flynn Cameron. Callum Dalton restored order via a strong drive, before scores from Tamuri Wigness and then Tre Armstrong who was fouled shooting for three and made all three from the line, put Australia ahead by 9. The New Zealander’s responded with back-to-back buckets to close to within 4, but a Froling dunk ensured the Emus led 20-14 at the first break.
Samson Froling | Credit: FIBA
While their rivals were able to maintain their scoring output in the second period, Australia put their foot on the gas. A 10-2 run to open the quarter firmly placed the Emus in the box seat, with their offensive rebounding once again on show. Kody Stattmann and Bowen would ensure Australia finished the half off strongly, opening up a commanding 22 point margin to have New Zealand on the back foot.
Froling and Bowen continued to cause headaches for the New Zealander’s inside the paint early in the second half, scoring inside and at the charity stripe. When Stattmann connected on a three, Australia was threatening to blow out the margin beyond 30. While they managed to stem the tide momentarily, Australia’s depth and talent was starting to shine through as Darren Perry continued to rotate through this bench to maintain the pressure. Wigness, Armstrong and Stattmann were all able to find ways to score before Dalton court fire from beyond the arc to blow the margin out beyond 40. Froling and Bowen combined late to see the Emu’s leading by a whopping 49 points at three-quarter time.
After Aiden Krause scored, Froling slammed one home as he continued to dominate the New Zealand team as the Emu's raced to 100 points. The Australian's were lining uip to score, powering their way to a convincing 111-62 win to cement their position on top of Group C with an unbeaten record.
While Froling and Bowen scored 19 each, there were three other Emus who scored in double figures. Dalton added 14 points and 7 rebounds, Stattmann 14 points, while Wigness added 11 points and 5 assists.
Australia shot better than 51% from the field, and an impressive 47.4% from beyond the three-point line, while forcing New Zealand into 20 turnovers and 32.4% shooting from the field.
The Emus now receive a day off having qualified for direct entry into the quarterfinals on Thursday, while New Zealand will play third placed team in Group D (India or Syria) for the right to advance to the quarterfinals.
Emus Schedule (all times AEST)
5 August: Australia defeated Thailand 119-44 6 August: Australia defeated Bahrain 107-42 7 August: Australia defeated New Zealand 8 August: Qualification for Quarter-Finals (2nd & 3rd placed teams) 9 August: Quarter-Finals: Australia vs TBA 10 August: Semi-Finals 11 August: Finals / Classification