Australia and the USA have both progressed to the next group phase of the FIBA World Cup tournament, both currently sitting undefeated.
The Boomers started positively in their opening game against Canada, before a third quarter struggle saw them blow a 12-point lead to end up trailing by one at three quarter time. But the Boomers were able to overcome the mini-slump led by some Matthew Dellavedova brilliance to top Canada in their first game of the tournament, 108-92.
The Aussies’ second game against Senegal was tougher than expected, overcoming a gutsy Senegal 81-68 to move to 2-0 in the tournament.
In what shaped up as the most important game for the Boomers, Australia’s third match-up would come against a highly ranked and then undefeated Lithuania outfit.
After starting off strong and leading by 11 points at half time, the Aussies let Lithuania back into the game and were in a dog fight right throughout the dying moments. Patty Mills drained a big three with 32 seconds left to put the Aussies up by five points that would ultimately be the dagger and seal an 87-82 win for the Boomers, keeping them on top of their group, while Lithuania finished 2nd.
Australia will now face-off against France and the Dominican Republic in the next phase of the tournament, and will hope to finish in the top 2 to progress to the quarter final stage.
Meanwhile, the USA have advanced to the next stage of their world cup campaign in reasonably comfortable fashion.
Game one for the saw USA comfortably defeat the Czech Republic 88-67 on the back of some brilliant play.
Game two wasn’t so easy for the Americans against a tough Turkey outfit. Turkey challenged all game long and even led USA by two on the last play, before Jayson Tatum was fouled on the three point line while shooting.
It handed Tatum three shots to win the game at the death, who hit two of them to send the game into overtime where more drama would unfold.
Up by one point with eight seconds to go and having missed 4 straight free-throws, Turkey fouled Khris Middleton going to the basket with two seconds remaining, where Middleton would drain both free throws and ultimately seal a 93-92 victory for his team.
Game three was a more controlled and dominating performance for the USA, demolishing Japan 98-45 to finish on top of their group undefeated at 3-0 and moving on to the next phase of the tournament.
USA will now come up against two tough opponents in Greece and Brazil in their next two games, and will look to improve on their play and remain undefeated to move through the next phase and into the quarter final stage.