Matthew Dellavedova, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 - Lithuania vs Australia
Matthew Dellavedova, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 - Lithuania vs Australia

Last second magic keeps Boomers dream alive

Australia's quest for a maiden men's medal is gaining momentum after the Boomers claimed a thrilling 100-98 victory over a formidable French side to charge into their first quarter-final in 25 years.

The hard-fought triumph helped the Aussies extend their unbeaten run to 5-0 - their best winning stretch in a World Cup or World Championship.

The win ensures Australia will avoid Team USA and instead play the Czech Republic in Shanghai on Wednesday from 11pm (AEST) in their first final eight game since the 1994 World Championships in Toronto, Canada.

Matthew Dellavedova and Mitch Creek played crucial roles with their clutch free-throws in the final seconds proving the difference.

The Boomers will be brimming with confidence that they can qualify for a maiden semi-final after beating the World No.3 ranked side in France.

The French are loaded with long and skilful talent, including NBA stars Rudy Gobert and Nicolas Batum.

France have an advantage in the athletic stakes but the Boomers ability to compete on every possession was a difference maker.

Andrej Lemanis' men were incredibly brave and gained more respect from the global basketball community.

Lemanis was rapt with his team's ability to stay in the contest when it looked like France would take over in the second half.

"The most pleasing thing is that we got down by nine points in the third quarter and things were going against us," Lemanis said.

"We could have let things slip but in true Boomers spirit we were able to regather ourselves and we got in a rhythm again."

Once again, Mills led the way with a team high 30 points, including 7 in the first quarter.

The veteran San Antonio Spurs guard regularly tested the French with his ability to drive to the basket.

Joe Ingles also found his range with 23 points, including 3 of 7 from beyond the arc.

Andrew Bogut put aside more boos from salty Chinese fans to grab 7 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Bogut copped a spray from the Nanjing crowd every time he touched the ball.

The boos started as a bit of banter following the big man's comments on Twitter about controversial Chinese swimming Sun Yang but the constant sledges are becoming old.

Fellow Boomers big man Aron Baynes added 21 points and 5 rebounds while he produced three huge defensive charges to swing the match in Australia's favour.

The Boomers have also proven throughout the World Cup that they possess the talent to push the best teams in the world.

This was on display in the win against France.

 

Mills drives a hole through the French. Photo: AP Photo
Mills drives a hole through the French. Photo: AP Photo

 

The Boomers trailed 24-23 after a tense and fast-paced first quarter before going to the main break locked at 46-all.

Australia found a way to slow the dynamic French line-up down on the defensive end.

Inspired by Mills and Baynes, the Boomers continued to pressure France and took the lead midway through the third before France kicked.

The French built a 4-point advantage heading into the final quarter but the Boomers refused to go away.

Australia surged to the lead with six minutes remaining and held on in the final seconds to claim a historic win.

News Corp Australia


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