Hong Kong unable to measure up against Boomers
The Boomers manufactured a 99-58 win in their second game of group play in the FIBA Asia Cup to maintain an unbeaten start.
Mitch Creek was outstanding with 15 points and 9 rebounds, while Todd Blanchfield top scored with 18 points. Veterans David Andersen and Brad Newley did not suit up as every other Boomer scored.
From the start it was immediately apparent that Hong Kong lacked an inside presence, especially when compared to the Boomers twin towers of Matt Hodgson and Daniel Kickert. Hong Kong featured only one player who stood over 6’6 tall.
Unsurprisingly, Hong Kong got smashed in the points in the paint numbers 50 to 24. As a result they often opted for outside shots with little success, shooting just 30% from behind the arc.
Andrej Lemanis had his men playing full court press to start the game, setting the tone early. The Boomers also employed a 1-2-2 press in the half court, allowing Hong Kong no room to breathe.
Fong was a standout for the struggling Hong Kong side early, leading all scorers with 10 points in the opening period. Cameron Gliddon and Todd Blachfield came out hot in the first quarter, both connecting on two threes. Angus Brandt produced the first major highlight of the game near the end of the first, converting on an and-one dunk in the face of an opponent.
The intensity of the Australian defence began to show in the second period, with the Aussies repeatedly forcing the Hong Kong players into poor contested shots. The Boomers also began to distance themselves on the scoreboard by registering the first 15 points of the quarter.
Blanchfield began to really catch fire, connecting on a deep three on his way to a big second period and a game high 18 points. Hong Kong opted for a zone defense throughout the contest, which resulted in the Boomers regularly jacking threes for mixed results.
Mitch Creek was active on the boards all game with a game-high nine rebounds. He showcased his superior athleticism with a spectacular drive-by throw down in the second quarter.
The Boomers started the second half slowly, with Hodgson giving up back to back turnovers while Hong Kong managed to get their offence going again. Hong Kong had outscored Australia 13-12 until the 4:00 minute mark when the Boomers then regained control.
Mid way through a flat last quarter from the Aussies, Mitch Creek awakened the arena with a powerful baseline tomahawk dunk.
Andrej Lemanis’ men used their height advantage to dominate the boards, highlighted by winning the offensive rebounding numbers 17 to 7. Hong Kong guard Lo showcased some impressive scoring capabilities in the second, managing to score on a number of isolation plays.
Hong Kong’s lack of depth was evident, with only 20 points contributed from the bench compared to Australia’s 50. The Boomers looked like one cohesive unit, with no real drop in standard once Lemanis went to the bench. Despite the blowout result, Hong Kong arguably stemmed the bleeding by forcing the Australians into outside shots. The Boomers took 35 three point shots out of their 71 field goals, converting at a 37% clip.
Andrej Lemanis will be happy that the Boomers got the job done with no injury concerns. While the Aussies will have some small things to work on, Lemanis’ men ultimately will be pleased with a 99-58 win.
The Boomers will next play Chinese Taipei at 11:00pm AEST on Saturday night to finish off group play. Chinese Taipei
Australia 99: Blanchfield 18, Creek 15, Gliddon 12, Norton 11, Kickert 11, McCarron 10 Hong Kong 58: Lo 11, Reid 10, Fong 10
Boomers schedule for FIBA Asia Cup
August 8: Australia defeated Japan 84-68 August 10: Australia defeated Hong Kong 99-58 August 12: Australia vs Chinese Taipei at 11:00pm AEST August 17: Quarterfinals August 19: Semifinals August 20: Bronze and gold medal games
Fox Sports will be broadcasting every Boomers game live. Alternatively, FIBA’s www.livebasketball.tv will also be showing all the action.