Aussies grind win over Czech side at U17 Worlds
The Australian U17 Men's basketball team have picked up their second win of the 2012 U17 FIBA World Championship of Basketball, defeating the Czech Republic in a tough battle 63-58.
For the Aussies, Ben Simmons finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Dante Exum finished with 10 points.
Australia started the game well and jumped out to an early lead, however the Czech Republic bounced back and closed the gap by quarter time, the Aussies taking a 14-11 lead into the first break.
Australia looked flat and lacked energy in the second term and the Czechs pounced, going out to a 10 point lead. This ignited the Aussies, who fought back and pulled the margin back to within five points at the half.
Facing the early third quarter deficit, the Aussies rallied and came back strongly, through the dominant play of Ben Simmons and Nic Duncan. Duncan showed his toughness, playing the game with a broken nose, but continued to rebound ferociously. Mirko Djeric also stepped up and took control of the game, Australia outscoring the Czechs 20 -11 in the period to set up a thrilling final term.
Defensive pressure created by full-court pressure troubled the Czechs in the last and the Aussies managed to wrangle a lead and hang on to it throughout the final stanza. Australia maintained an eight point lead into the last minute of the game before a deep 3 point launch at the death got the Czechs to within two shots, Australia hanging on to a five point win.
Coach Guy Molloy praised his team's effort in the face of great challenge. "Playing a very good European team when we had a bad shooting night and lacked the energy we have been playing with was a magnificent result for us," he said.
"There are no easy games in the World Championships and the Czechs are the silver medalists from the European Championships. The result will hold us in good stead to complete the preliminary rounds and position ourselves for the Quarter Finals," he said.
Period 1: AUS 14 - 11 CZE
Half time: AUS 29 - 34 CZE
Period 3: AUS 49-45 CZE
Full time: AUS 63 – 58 CZE