Boomers belt Kazakhstan; finish Asian Qualifiers on top

AUSTRALIA showed no mercy during a 45-point belting of Kazakhstan to remain outright top of Group F in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. In a dominant outing, the Boomers won every quarter – including the third term by 22 – en route to a massive 98-53 victory.

Though heavily fancied heading into the clash sitting top of the group with an 11-1 record, the Boomers could not be too careful against a fifth placed Kazakhstan side that was just one win off Iran in fourth. The first term was indicative of what was to come despite it being a comparably closer quarter, with Australia going eight point ahead, 21-13.

Australia was not going to let up with a strong 25-14 second term to boost the lead out to 19 points head into the main break, and off a dominant shooting performance from Todd Blanchfield, did not let up. The Boomers put the foot down in the third term, piling up 33 points to 11 to blow the margin out to 41 points with a quarter to spare. Able to rotate players in the last, Australia still won the fourth term, but it was far closer for the visitors, 19-15, for an overall 45-point victory of 98-53.

In the end, Australia shot at a higher clip from both inside (51.1 per cent) and outside (43.8 per cent) the arc, compared with Kazakhstan’s 43.3 and 36.4 respectively. Though both shared the defensive pressure around the boards – 21 defensive rebounds each – Australia had more than double the offensive rebounds (21-10).

Without a doubt, Kazakhstan’s lack of ball handling cost the Middle Eastern nation, as Australia piled on 40-0 from turnovers, showing the lower ranked nation how it was done. Australia also dominated across the fast break points (24-5), points in the paint (36-18) and second chance points (24-7) throughout the big win.

Blanchfield was deadly from long-range, landing seven of 12 in the clash, totalling 31 points in just 20 minutes, as he feasted on the lack of Kazakh perimeter defence. He also picked up four rebounds in the win. Kyle Adnam also lit up from inside and outside the arc, shooting 20 points in 18 minutes at a 50 per cent clip, while managing three rebounds and two assists.

Nick Kay (11 points, six rebounds) and Isaac Humphries (six points, five rebounds) and Mason Peatling (six rebounds) all stepped up off the boards. Ruslan Aitkali was the top scorer for Kazakhstan, putting up 12 points, while Dmitriy Gavrilov (eight points, seven rebounds) was also prolific off the boards.

The result concludes Australia’s Asian Cup Qualifying campaign, ending on top of its group and qualifying for the FIBA World Cup.

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