Eyebrows have been raised after the Boomers opted not to challenge a foul on Patty Mills, that if reversed, would have seen Slovenian star…
The Boomers have earned a consolation 100-84 win over Georgia to finish a short-lived basketball World Cup campaign with a 3-2 record.
Already out of quarter-finals contention because of losses to Germany and Slovenia, Australia did what they could to salvage a failed gold medal tilt with a comfortable victory in Okinawa.
Dante Exum (18 points, four assists) was again confident off the bench, while Duop Reath (16 points, three-of-three triples) shot smoothly as they fended off a Georgian rally early in the final term.
Australia turned the ball over 11 times in a sloppy first half but Patty Mills (19 points, five assists, six turnovers) found his groove with 16 points before the main break.
The 35-year-old helped power a 31-point second quarter, a Joe Ingles triple on the buzzer – Australia’s 10th for the half – opening up a 17-point lead.
Georgia fought back to within 12 points at the final break but Australia found enough stops to halt their run and Exum hit a three-pointer on his return to the game to push the margin out to 20.
Giddey started well and finished a maiden major tournament appearance with 15 points on seven-of-eight shooting.
Australia were 25 points better than Georgia with the point guard on the court, Giddey’s 15 points enough to make him the youngest leading scorer of any country in World Cup history.
World No.3 and Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists Australia, boasting a record nine NBA players, had designs on bettering a fourth place at the last World Cup.
And comfortable wins over Finland, hosts Japan and Georgia showed off some fresh elements to a new-look Boomers outfit helmed by 20-year-old point guard Giddey.
But they fell short in true tests against Germany and Slovenia, Australia’s offence breaking down and their inability to drag in crucial rebounds also hurting them.
Josh Green again showed glimpses of his athletic best while Jack White was given an extended run.
But again coach Brian Goorjian kept veteran sharp-shooter Chris Goulding on the bench until late in the fourth quarter, when exciting 20-year-old NBA guard Dyson Daniels was also introduced.
Attention now switches to the Paris Olympics in less than a year, Australia qualifying for the event by finishing the World Cup higher-placed than New Zealand, who were unable to exit a tough first-round group.