Australia slay Canada in World Cup’s ‘Group of Death’

Source:AFP Published: 2019/9/1 19:28:40

Matthew Dellavedova of Australia celebrates a point during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, first-round match between Canada and Australia at Dongguan Basketball Center on Sunday in Dongguan, South China's Guangdong Province. Photo: VCG

Australia drew first blood in the so-called Group of Death at the Basketball World Cup with a nail-biting 108-92 victory over Canada on Sunday in China.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Matthew Dellavedova was key for the Boomers, leading the way with 24 points after Canada had battled back from a 12-point halftime deficit to lead going into the fourth quarter.

Along with Serbia, Greece, Spain and France, Australia have been mentioned as a threat to the USA's long dominance, but they will need to defy history: The Boomers have never gone beyond the quarterfinals in 11 previous World Cup appearances.

With reigning two-time champions the USA playing later in the day, Australia and Canada took center stage in the 32-team tournament.

Australia began their title bid in the southern Chinese city of ­Dongguan against a Canada side led by NBA champion coach Nick Nurse but missing many of their biggest names.

In a highly competitive Group H also containing Lithuania and Senegal, Australia led 52-40 at halftime with Joe Ingles of NBA team the Utah Jazz scoring 10 points and registering three assists against Canada's slack defence. He finished with a match-leading 10 assists.

Veteran Andrew Bogut had been a doubt going into the clash with Nurse's men, but Australia's star ­center played and had nine rebounds. 

Canada came out for the third period with serious intent, racking up nine unanswered points to rattle the stunned Australians and claw the match back.

The lead changed hands several times but Canada miraculously went into the decisive fourth stanza 77-76 ahead.

Yet they appeared to have run out of juice and a relentless Australia finally pulled away in the decisive fourth quarter.


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