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Boomers open with big win over Japan

Australia's inexperienced Boomers entered the FIBA Asia Cup with a bang on Tuesday night with a big win over Japan.

The Boomers featured a host of first-time players as their NBL-based side took on Japan, a team considered their strongest opponents in group D, in the tournament in Beirut.

Australia's Mitch Creek lays up against Japan's Kosuke Takeuchi on Tuesday night.  Photo: FIBA.com
But it proved a no-contest as the Boomers won 84-68 with five players scoring in double figures, led by Cairns Taipans guard Cameron Gliddon and Sydney Kings guard Jason Cadee who equal-top scored with 13 points each while the Boomers pulled in 47 rebounds to Japan's 20.

Brisbane Bullets forward Daniel Kickert enjoyed 11 points and five assists while Adelaide centre Matt Hodgson had 12 points and 11 rebounds on debut and Adelaide teammate Mitch Creek added 10 points.

With only games against Hong Kong on Thursday night and Chinese Taipei on Saturday night to play the Boomers should win both comfortably to top their group and move directly into the knockout quarter-finals.

The Boomers held on against a powerful shooting display from Japan, led by 167-centimetre guard Yuki Togashi who scored 12 points in the first half.

Still the Boomers pounded the ball inside, knocked down their open three-pointers and dominated the rebound contest throughout the game.

This meant they had a double figure lead by half-time and continued to grow the advantage in the second half with Cairns guard Mitch McCarron throwing down an impressive alley-oop dunk in the third term as Australia ran away with the game.

Boomers forward David Andersen sat out the game in what appeared to be a precautionary decision and otherwise the team had contributors across the roster with Creek and Hodgson impressing in their first senior Boomers game as did McCarron and the rest of the side.

The Boomers have Wednesday off before playing out their last two group games.

New Zealand, who have picked an extremely young and inexperienced side, opened their Asia Cup with a win beating Kazakhstan 70-49 in the tournament opener on Tuesday night although the Tall Blacks have a much tougher group with Korea and home side Lebanon still to come.

That win should see New Zealand at least make it to the knockout crossover games as the second- and third-placed sides in each group play in those games while the group winner moves straight into the quarter-finals.

The Boomers play Hong Kong on Thursday at 11pm with Fox Sports showing all games live.

Author: Roy Ward
Source: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/basketball/fiba-asia-cup-2017-boomers-open-with-big-win-over-japan-20170808-gxs56y.html

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