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Boomers march into quarters

AUSTRALIA ripped through Chinese Taipei 90-50 last night to march unbeaten into the quarter finals of the FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, Mitch Creek again on fire.

Despite the blow of four-time Olympian David Andersen returning prematurely to Australia with a shoulder injury suffered a week ago in a practice game, the Boomers made it a 3-0 intrapool sweep with Creek scoring 22 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting, plus 4-of-5 from the stripe.

With no turnovers, the missed free throw was his only blemish in another performance which should have him close to locking down the swingman spot in the tournament All Star Five.

Taking it to the hoop with power, speed and strength, Creek made the most of his 22:52 and had good support from Mitch McCarron and Angus Brandt.

MITCH PERFECT: Mitch Creek hit 9-of-9 from the field. Pic courtesy

With regular opening centre Matt Hodgson rested, Brandt started strongly and looked headed for a very big game before early foul troubles sent him to the sidelines.

Nick Kay picked up the workload in his absence before Brandt returned to finish with 12 points at 75 per cent, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal in a good night's work.

McCarron had eight points including a slick steal and emphatic dunk in a 16-2 run in the last quarter, Brandt with back-to-back buckets as well.

Like Creek, Brad Newley had little trouble getting to the basket but it was his nine assists, moreso than his nine points, which stood out.

Consecutive assists to Brandt and Mitch Norton - the latter off a steal and no-look pass - was vintage Newley, Australia forcing 25 turnovers and with a massive 44-22 rebounding edge. 

Chinese Taipei led 10-8 deep into the first quarter before Newley's cut and bonus free throw restored Australia's lead.

FOR THE LEAD: Brad Newley gets to the hoop. Pic courtesy

Kay stole the ball and his Hawks' NBL teammate Norton followed up to put back a basket.

Daniel Kickert pushed the lead out to 15-10, the Boomers up 22-14 at the first break.

Chinese Taipei had the second quarter's initial possession but Creek stole the ball and hammered down a terrific dunk under pressure for 24-14.

Todd Blanchfield connected on a 3-pointer soon after, another cut by Creek building the buffer to 29-14.

Chinese Taipei pulled the deficit back to 20-29 but it pretty much was its last hurrah for the period.

Kay's tip made it 31-20 before Brandt stormed to the basket and threw down a massive dunk as the Boomers went 16-3 to the halftime siren for a match-winning 45-23 lead.

The Boomers now have until Thursday to make any adjustments due to Andersen's absence but given he had not played in the Cup series before heading home, they only should be minor. It will be his big-game experience Australia most will miss at the tournament's business end.

AUSTRALIA 90 (Creek 22, Brandt 12, McCarron 11; McCarron 8 rebs; Newley 9 assts; Gliddon, Newly, Creek 2 stls) d CHINESE TAIPEI 50 (Liu 17, Y.Chou 12; Chiang, Liu 3 rebs; Liu 3 assts, Liu 3 stls).

CHOU DOWN: Angus Brandt stepped up, despite foul woes. Pic courtesy

Aug 13

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