Australia has finished its FIBA World Cup campaign on a high, defeating Georgia in Okinawa, Japan on Sunday evening.
The Boomers put the disappointment of Friday night’s loss to Slovenia - which eliminated them from the medal race - behind them to win their final game, 100-84.
Australia produced its best three-point shooting display (14 triples) of the World Cup to finish the tournament with a 3-2 record and qualification for next year’s Olympics.
In his first major tournament, 20-year-old Josh Giddey averaged 20.5 points, 6.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds and became the youngest-ever leading scorer for Australia in basketball history.
It was Giddey (15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 rebounds) who quickly got to work for the Boomers scoring the first four points of the game as Australia went 4-of-8 from the three on the way to establishing a 23-17 first-quarter buffer.
A scoring flurry extended the margin while Australia was also the beneficiary of three first-half technical fouls on Georgia but it was a 13-point second quarter from Patty Mills which gave the Boomers full control at the long break having posted their second highest first half (54 points) of the tournament.
After 11 first-half turnovers, Australia cleaned up its ball use in the third quarter before Georgia launched a comeback, inspired by Goga Bitadze and Thaddus McFadden, getting within 11 of the opposition.
The Boomers led 79-67 at three-quarter time and consolidated to power home to their third victory in Japan.
Co-captain Mills, who top scored with 19 points in the final game, said the Boomers team was looking ahead to Paris 2024.
“It’s definitely a disappointing result for a major tournament from our part but it was important to us as a playing group that we came out and finished this thing right, finished with a win,” he said.
“The positive for us is we’ve got the Olympics 10 months away and for us to keep building what we’ve started from a foundation point six weeks ago into a very strong Olympics.
You haven’t seen the best of us, we’ll get away from this now and get back together soon and Paris Olympics is what our goal is.”
Dante Exum (with his highest-ever World Cup output of 18 points), Duop Reath (16 points his best performance of the tournament) and co-captain Joe Ingles (10 points) joined Mills and Giddey in double figures.
Australia 100 (Mills 19, Exum 18) defeated Georgia 84 (Bitadze 20, McFadden 18)
View the post-game press conference with Head Coach Brian Goorjian and Joe Ingles.
See the AUS v GEO 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|
|Final Phase – Manila, Philippines|
|September 5 & 6||Quarter-finals||TBD|
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.