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Boomers remain unbeaten in FIBA World Cup qualifiers after thrashing Japan

THE next generation of Boomers stars began auditions for a home Commonwealth Games while continuing Australia’s dream start to its FIBA World Cup qualifiers with a 24-point win over Japan on Monday night.

But it wasn’t without a scare with Japan - ranked 50 in the world - taking it right up to the ninth-ranked Boomers who had to fight for every basket in a frantic and physical final quarter in Adelaide.

Chris Goulding drives to the basket.
The all-NBL team however had the answers, particularly on the boards to dominate rebounds 48-21 and had four players in double figure scoring on the way to winning 82-58.

While the game provided Australia’s young stars a chance to strut their stuff, 34-year-old veteran Daniel Kickert showed them how it’s done with a game-high 22 points including a big third quarter when Japan got to within seven of the lead.

The result followed Australia’s thumping win over Chinese Taipei on Friday night which has given coach Andrej Lemanis plenty to think about heading towards the Gold Coast Games next year.

Only two of the 12 players in the squad - Chris Goulding and Damian Martin - were in Rio last year where the Boomers fell agonisingly short of an Olympic bronze medal.

With superstars like Joe Ingles, Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova on NBA duty the new generation led by Nathan Sobey, Mitch Creek, Nick Kay, Matthew Hodgson and Jason Cadee made the most of their opportunity.

Creek, Hodgson and Cameron Gliddon had 10 points and Kay hauled in 10 rebounds.

The Boomers took a while to settle with consecutive turnovers on offence while Japan made clear its plan to shoot from outside the perimeter rather than force the drive against the bigger opposition.

For the first quarter it worked with Makoto Hiejima and Yuki Togashi lighting it up with 15 points between them, but Kickert’s cool hand and Creek’s inside work including a one-handed dunk kept the Boomers with their nose in front 23-22 at the first break.

Sobey was subbed into the game after quarter time and his first two involvements resulted in baskets which triggered a 6-0 run before Goulding sunk back-to-back threes to put Australia in control.

After leading by 12 at halftime the highlights started coming when Cadee stole the ball at half-court, dribbled around his back and completed the lay-up before he produced a perfectly weighted pass to Sobey for the alley-oop.

But Japan wouldn’t go away and Yudai Baba responded with a fast-break dunk as the visitors got back within seven points late in the third term.

Australia’s desperation on defence was highlighted by big blocks from Hodgson and Goulding and Creek’s work on the floor as the Boomers forced a backcourt violation in the last then poured in consecutive buckets to seal victory.

Australia’s next game in its world cup qualification process is against Philippines on February 22.

Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/basketball/boomers-remain-unbeaten-in-fiba-world-cup-qualifiers-after-thrashing-japan/news-story/24786e1db8c906354618afe9500cf22a

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