China won the fourth and final game of the series 95-90 in Liyang Tianmuhu Arena, China on Sunday night as the Boomers continuously fell foul of the local referees and also struggled to find consistent passages of play.
The two nations managed to win both their home matches during the four games series.
While observers would question how China managed to shoot 30 of 48 free throws compared to Australia’s 15 of 20, Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis will be making sure his side plays much cleaner defence in future matches.
The Boomers also conceded too many turnovers with 19 compared to China’s 11.
Brock Motum capped off an exceptional series with 19 points including a powerful one-hand dunk in the closing minutes of the final term.
The Italian based Queenslander has boosted his chances of making the Boomers’ squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain later this year with his efficient scoring and aggressive play in the series while Luke Nevill, Mark Worthington and Lucas Walker all showed they could do a job if needed by Lemanis.
Nevill had 14 points while Ben Madgen offered 10 points.
Forward Ton Lin Sun led China with 15 points while speedy guard Fei Cao scored 13 points.
The Boomers burst out to a 21-17 lead at the first change.
But with the home side scoring plenty of opportunities at the foul line, they were soon back in front despite the best efforts of the Boomers.
Sydney Kings guard Ben Madgen created a three-point play late in the first half to regain the lead but more free throws followed for China as they went on a mini-run to extend their lead to 46-40 with 1:20 to go in the second quarter.
The re-introduction of Worthington and Tom Jervis lifted the Boomers defence and on the attacking end Worthington and Jervis helped find an opening for Clint Steindl to make a three-pointer with 20 seconds left to trim the margin to 48-43 at the half.
The Boomers made a sharp start to the third term with Hugh Greenwood’s three-pointer tying scores at 53-53 with seven minutes left before Motum’s put-back from a Nevill miss returned Australia to the lead soon after.
Motum and then Cameron Gliddon added baskets to push the Boomers out to a 64-62 lead with two minutes to go, before Worthington drew an unsportsmanlike foul after his Chinese opponent elbowed him.
Worthington made one of two free throws then Angus Brandt made a jump-hook on the subsequent possession to give the Boomers a 67-62 lead with 1:06 left in the third term.
Good ball movement and some helpful whistles aided China who closed to within 67-66 at the three-quarter time buzzer.
China took the lead on a dunk to start the last term but a hustle play from Worthington led to Madgen scoring an easy layup to regain the advantage.
As both sides traded baskets and the lead, Nevill slammed home a powerful one-hand dunk midway through the term from a Motum feed.
Some bad turnovers from the Boomers led to China taking an 82-77 lead with five minutes left to play.
After closing within two points the Boomers couldn’t find a way to string baskets together while avoiding the ire of the home referees, with the Chinese maintaining an 89-83 lead with 1:40 left in the game.
But Gliddon’s three-pointer soon after had the Boomers again within 89-86 then a free-throw from China had them up 9-86 with a minute remaining.
Motum followed up with a powerful one-hand dunk to make it 90-88 with 40 seconds left then the Boomers extended their pressure defence to force a turnover but China guard Ziao-Yu Liu found an opening at the three-point line and nailed it to make it 93-88 with 22.8 left.
Motum then made two free throws 93-90 with 18.8 to play.
Yuhang Ding Yan then made two clutch free throws to deny the Boomers a chance at the win as China claimed the match and tied the series.
Teenage Boomer and AIS forward Jack McVeigh also made his international senior debut in the game.
China (Sun 15, Cao 13) d Australia 90 (Motum 19, Nevill 14, Madgen 11) at Liyang Tianmuhu Arena, China on Sunday night.