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AUCKLAND (FIBA U19 World Championship) - Two inspired bursts from Australia’s guards have proved the difference in an epic quarter final against France, with the Emus emerging 79-73 victors at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand.
Jason Cadee finished the first half with 5 points in 46 seconds, including a superb buzzer beating three pointer to give Australia a 45-35 advantage.
Then, with Australia’s tournament hopes fading away in the last quarter, Jorden Page stepped up to hit 5 points in 42 seconds to steal the lead back for Australia with 2:29 to play, and set up their thrilling victory.
France emerged in front, 20-17, after a tight first quarter, with Andrew Albicy (17 points) a thorn in Australia’s side with 7 points and 2 assists for the period.
Australia took control after quarter time though, unleashing a 28-15 quarter that was punctuated by Cadee’s efforts. Australia out-rebounded France 11-5 for the quarter, nailed 4/7 three pointers and forced 6 French turnovers.
In the third quarter it looked as if Australia would clear away from the French, and when Ryan Broekhoff nailed a three with 2:08 remaining Australia led 58-49. But baskets to Nicolas Lang and Christophe Leonard (22 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists) ensured Les Bleus were within striking distance at the last change.
The final quarter was a classic, with Australia extending their lead to 7 points, but France charging back behind Leonard, who would score 11 points for the quarter. France took the lead on an Andrew Albicy two, and when Lang (17 points, 5/10 3pfg) nailed a tough three from the corner they led 71-66 with 4:37 to play.
Then Matthew Dellavedova (18 points) hit from the perimeter, Page stepped in with his crucial burst, and Cody Ellis (14 points, 10 rebounds) nailed a long three to give Australia a 77-73 lead, and a place in the semi finals.
Australia are now 7-0 for the tournament, but next face a Greece team who are producing their best form at the right time. France will play Argentina in the first of the classification games for positions 5-8.
They said :
Matthew Dellavedova, Australia captain :
“They are a good side, so we knew would have to dig in on defence to get some stops, which we did, and we got it done in the last. If you give them an inch, and they’re open from the three point line they’re not going to miss, so it’s tough trying to close them out.
Those two games definitely prepared us well, especially the Croatia game. The crowd was going nuts but we stuck together and got it done.”
Marty Clarke, Australia coach :
“It’s not what we were known for a year ago. We would get into those situations and not know where to go to get scores. Delly (Dellavedova) did it against Croatia and tonight as well, and Cody made a big three tonight. Maybe theyre not the perfect shots to take, but a shot you belive in is better than one you don’t.
For me it’s a hard way to coach, as a coach you like more control. But they play the game, and we are going to trust them to play it.
(Defence) has been a huge point of emphasis for us for the last five or six years. It got the last (U19) group a long way too. Today weas fantastic, we kept them to five in the last five minutes.
Albicy was superb tonight. That was the plan, let him get 20 but make sure 4 and 9 didn’t get their shots.”
Andrew Albicy, French captain :
“We thought that we could kill the game (at the end) but we made some bad decisions. In important games you have to make big plays, and we did not quite do that today, so that is it.
We know we have a very good game from three point range. Against Greece we did not make our shots, but tonight Christophe Leonard and Nicolas Lang were very good, and my shots were dropping too.
Playing against Australia and other teams is a much different style. But to win games internationally you have to be able to play those styles, so it is a good experience.”