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Boomers whack Kazaks

AUSTRALIA virtually stamped its ticket to the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China with a whopping 94-41 rout of Kazakhstan tonight in Bendigo in their Asian Zone qualifier.

Coming on the back of Friday morning’s 95-43 pantsing of Qatar in Doha, the win moved Australia’s record to 7-1 with four games left in Phase Two – two of them against Qatar (home) and Kazakhstan (away).

With 52 and 53 point wins, Andrej Lemanis’ team has moved seamlessly forward, with July’s melee in Manila now a distant memory.

But tonight’s win did not come without cost, Perth Wildcats centre Angus Brandt badly rolling his right ankle in only 7:19 of action and Brisbane Bullets pivot Matt Hodgson playing just 4:50 with a possible calf tweak.

Both still managed to throw down a pair of wicked dunks each, the Boomers on an early 12-0 run to go from 5-4 to 17-4, Nathan Sobey prominent.

“A sign of our resilience, we showed tonight we’re pretty amorphous, in terms of both our five men went down, so here we go, what happens now, we didn’t skip a beat,” Lemanis said.

Ahead 22-6 after one, it was 41-19 to the Boomers by halftime as Kazakhstan struggled to retain the ball, coughing it up 16 times.

By game’s end, that blew out to 34 turnovers, Australia with 23 steals in that lot as its fullcourt pressure unravelled the battling visitors.

Mitch McCarron took over from Sobey as the star of the third period, then Todd Blanchfield opened the last – a 29-7 pillaging – strongly and Daniel Johnson finished it off equally well.

In between, Nick Kay was a constant, Australia shooting at 53 per cent and dishing an unselfish 30 assists as it completely outclassed its opponent.

“(I’m) obviously really pleased with the discipline and intent with which we went about our business over these two games,” Lemanis said.

“To beat anyone in international competition by 50 takes a certain resolve and it takes a certain attitude. And I thought regardless of the scoreline, our application and intent defensively was spot on.

“(I’m) really proud of the group and the way they were able to maintain that and not let the game get ratty at any point.”

Lemanis said Australia forcing 34 turnovers was a “massive stat”.

AUSTRALIA 94 (Sobey, McCarron 15, Johnson 14, Kay 13; Johnson, Sobey 5 rebs; Johnson, Kay 5 assts) d KAZAKHSTAN 41 (Gavrilov 8, Zhigulin 7; Zhigulin 6 rebs; Marchuk 3 assts) at Bendigo Stadium.

Sep 17

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