Australia’s FIBA World Cup medal hopes were dashed in Okinawa, Japan on Friday night as a dominant Slovenia overcame the Boomers.
Australia mounted a third-quarter comeback and got within two points in the opening seconds of the final term, before Slovenia rallied with a late three-point shooting display to win the game 91-80.
Now out of medal contention, Australia faces Georgia in its final game on Sunday afternoon at 5.30pm AEST.
Slovenia burst out of the gates with a 5-0 run in first 30 seconds of the game capturing all the early momentum on the way to a 28-18 quarter-time advantage.
A technical foul saw NBA superstar Luka Doncic sit with three early fouls and his six-minute absence allowed Australia to break its scoring drought then get consecutive stops. A purple patch from co-captain Patty Mills got the Boomers within 7 of Slovenia but despite winning a dramatic quarter by a point, the margin was 49-40 at the major break.
Switching defence energised the Boomers early in the second half but too often Slovenia had an answer for their run.
The third quarter belonged to Josh Giddey (25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) as he inserted himself on the contest scoring 13 of the Boomers’ 22 points, putting his country back in the contest at three quarter time, 66-62, the closest margin since the opening stages of the game.
Giddey’s 22nd point had the Boomers within two at the beginning of the final quarter before Slovenia went on a run to steady, then dominate again with a 15-2 run.
Head coach Brian Goorjian said the team is naturally disappointed at the result, but optimistic as the Boomers head towards the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
“Preparation for the Olympics starts now, we learned a lot,” said Goorjian, “I think we’re in a process of change in style of play, both offensively and defensively.”
“We’re all disappointed but I’m definitely excited about where this team can go. Some big decisions are ahead but I like what’s in front of me,” he said.
Australia 80 (Giddey 25pts, Mills 17pts)
Slovenia 91 (Doncic 20pts, Tobey 18pts)
View the post-game press conference with Brian Goorjian and Josh Giddey.
See the AUS v SLO box score, photos and more on the FIBA website.
HOW TO WATCH
Every Boomers game, every Team USA game and all quarter finals, semi-finals, third place game and the FIBA World Cup Final will be made available LIVE and FREE on ESPN via Kayo Freebies - which does not require a subscription.
Fans in Australia can access Kayo Freebies and support the Boomers by watching ESPN’s coverage of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
|UPCOMING WORLD CUP FIXTURES
|Second Round and Classification– Okinawa, Japan
|AUS v GEO
|Final Phase – Manila, Philippines
|September 5 & 6
General FIBA World Cup tournament information can be found in the FIBA International media guide.
Post-game press conferences are streamed live to the FIBA YouTube channel.