The Golden Star Boomers Australian men’s national basketball team have defeated their former bogey team Angola at the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Kayseri, Turkey this morning, 76-55, to finish third in Group A and advance to a second round clash with Slovenia on Sunday (0100 Monday AEST).
Patrick Mills top-scored for Australia with 11 points, while Matt Nielsen added nine. Brad Newley, Mark Worthington and David Barlow all chimed in with eight points apiece for Australia.
The Boomers’ tight defence ensured that no Angolan player reached double-figures in scoring, with Miguel Lutonda and Vladimir Jeronimo the top scorers for the African champions with nine points each.
The win sees Australia finish the preliminary round of play at the world titles with a 3-2 record, setting up a clash with the second-placed team in Group B, Slovenia.
Australia had lost to the Africans once before in major competition at the 1986 world championships and another upset seemed possible when Angola scored the first four points of the second term for a seven-point lead.
The Boomers started slowly, making only two of their first seven field goal attempts, before eventually taking the lead in the second term and cruising home.
Coach Brett Brown rotated his players constantly trying to find the right line-up, but two early three-pointers gave Angola the lead and they reached quarter-time with a surprise 18-15 advantage.
But the Boomers responded, reeling off an 18-3 run to completely turn the game on its head and at halftime led 39-29.
The third quarter was then a totally one-sided affair, with the Boomers winning it 21-9 for a commanding 60-38 lead at the final change, with Brown giving his bench players extended minutes in the final quarter.
Boomers starting centre David Andersen missed the game due to a stomach problem that has swept through the Australian camp.
Australia now face Slovenia, who finished second behind the United States in Group B and will provide an extremely tough test.
Australia and world No.20 Slovenia met twice just over four weeks ago at the Stankovic Cup in China, with Australia winning the opening fixture 77-63 before the Slovenians prevailed in the final 71-60.
The Slovenians knocked off highly-rated Brazil, Croatia and Tunisia in Group B, losing only to the US.
Australia 76 (Patrick Mills 11, Matt Nielsen 9, Brad Newley 8, Mark Worthington 8, David 8)
Angola 55 (M. Lutonda 9, J Gomes 8, L. Paulo 7, H. H. Mbunga 7)