Israel's hot shooting in the fourth quarter saw the Emerging Boomers come up short in a 72-89 loss at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, leaving them with a 1-2 record after three games.
Despite an encouraging 16 points and 7 rebound performance from Florida Gators big man Gorjok Gak, Australia were unable to contain Israel's back court duo of Egor Koulechov and Tomer Ginat who poured in 24 and 23 points respectively. Israel drained 4-of-9 triples in the fourth period to outscore a stone-cold Australia 23-12 to set up their big win.
Both teams opened looking to assert their dominance early, with Dejan Vasiljevic connecting on a three-pointer early before being fouled on another attempt, making all three free throws. Koulechov and Ginat were on point from distance as well, with Israel earning 18-14 lead. Xavier Cooks was set up nicely by Jack McVeigh for the and-1, however missed the extra shot. Kyle Adnam found Rhys Vague who hit a triple to keep Australia close, yet Israel would take a 25-21 lead at the first break.
Things did not go smoothly to commence the second period, with 5 turnovers in the first 3:11 allowing Israel to extend the margin to 12. Back-to-back three-pointers by Adnam and Vague ensured the Emerging Boomers remained within reach, yet Australia trailed by 10 at half time, largely thanks to 11 turnovers and shooting just 5-of-14 from the field for the term.
It took almost three minutes into the second half for Australia to score a field goal, with Cooks fed by Emmett Naar. That kick-started a 15-4 run by the Australian's which saw them edge back to within 1, with Gak and Matthew Kenyon in the thick of the action. Two treys by Adnam and Tanner Krebs helped counter the scoring of Ginat, yet Australia would still find themselves behind 60-66 with one period left to play.
With neither team able to buy a basket in the opening minutes, Cooks stepped up with 4 straight points to edge to within 2. However Australia's shooting went ice-cold just as Israel starting heating up, with the Emerging Boomers falling well behind to eventually go down by 17 points.
While Gak impressed with his personal tournament-high haul, Cooks added 13 points (6-of-13 FG) with 9 rebounds and 3 steals. Kenyon came off the bench to provide 7 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
After dropping 28 points in each of their first two games, Vasiljevic went ice-cold. The dynamic scorer went just 2-of-12 from the field and managed just 1-of-9 from distance. While he was able to get to the free throw line where he made 8-of-9 for the bulk of his 13 points, his hot-shooting was sorely missed.
Israel's were in contrast red-hot. They shot a combined 54% from the field on 23 assists in compared to Australia's 36% and 10 assists. The Emerging Boomers did not take care of the ball either, turning it over 20 times, with 11 of those coming in the second period which allowed Israel to pull away.
Australia will now need to win their remaining two games if they are to have any chance of progressing to the quarterfinals. They next take on Russia (1-2) who boast the same record, after they also lost to Israel and the Ukraine. The game against Russia will be broadcast live online thanks to the International University Sports Federation on Thursday, 24 August at 2:30pm AEST.
Australia 72: Gak 16, Cooks 13, Vasiljevic 13 Israel 89: Koulechov 24, Ginat 23, Sharon 10
Emerging Boomers Schedule (all times AEST)
Pool D August 20: Australia lost to Ukraine 76-80 August 21: Australia defeated Lithuania 84-82 August 23: Australia lost to Israel 72-89 August 24: Australia vs Russia at 2:30pm August 25: Australia vs Mozambique at 12:00pm August 27: Quarterfinals August 28: Semifinals August 29: Grand Final