It was celebration time for the Boomers at Margaret Court Arena on Monday and they put on a clinic having sewn up a FIBA World Cup spot next year piling on 110 points with 21 threes to beat Qatar by 51 points.
Australia secured their place at the World Cup in China next September by beating Iran on Friday night also at the Melbourne venue. But the same 12 NBL players suited up again on Monday and they put on a show for the 4000 strong crowd in attendance.
The Boomers ensured they finished the World Cup Qualifying with nine wins from 10 matches and the 110-59 win over Qatar signified their biggest scoring performance.
It was on the back of knocking down 21/37 from three-point territory at 56.8 per cent in a stunning shooting display. They also finished with 32 assists from the 37 field goals made while nailing 60.7 per cent overall from the field.
Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis continued to trumpet the pride he feels in the commitment from the NBL players to the Australian cause.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way the boys have gone about their business over this entire campaign and tonight is just an extension and reflection of the way they’ve been professional throughout,” Lemanis said.
“No matter the situation I think we’ve always handled ourselves with class and we have built an identity with our defence and the way we played tonight was getting into it defensively.
“We took a lot of pride in what we were doing at the defensive end. The group is just such a wonderful one to be involved with and we are really fortunate to have guys with this commitment and attitude representing us on the international stage.”
Jason Cadee still made a good contribution on Friday night with four assists despite not scoring, but his shot was falling on Monday as the Brisbane Bullets point guard led the team with 21 points including going 5/8 from deep.
His Bullets teammate Cam Gliddon also made 5/9 from long-range for 17 points with David Barlow (3/4 from three) and Todd Blanchfield (4/7) finishing with 12 points apiece.
Nick Kay had another nine points, six rebounds and three assists with Mitch McCarron contributing eight points and three assists, Nathan Sobey seven points and seven assists, Matt Hodgson seven points, Daniel Johnson five points, four rebounds and four assists, Nate Jawai five points, three boards and three assists, Mitch Norton four points and four assists, and Craig Moller three points and five boards.
Gliddon couldn’t hide how much pride he feels every time he gets to play for Australia.
“It was a tough first half and I think we just ran away with it because of our depth, but it has been just awesome to qualify for the World Cup and awesome playing with these guys,” Gliddon said.
“Every time we put on the green and gold, it’s a very proud moment and to do it on the home floor is a huge thing.
“The best time playing basketball is when you put on the green and gold so we’re really fortunate to play in these games and hopefully there’s more to come. It was great to seal it tonight in Melbourne.”
A good pass inside to Hodgson who finished well started the game for the Boomers and McCarron ensured a 5-0 start when he knocked down a wide-open triple.
Blanchfield marked his entry into the game knocking down another three to put Australia up 11-3 before Mohamed Hassan answered in kind for Qatar. Blanchfield immediately knocked down a second from long-range before a clever pass inside from Jawai set up a Kay layup to make it a 16-8 game.
Qatar weren’t going away and when Mohammed Yousuf nailed another three, the margin was just five but the Boomers steadied enough to head into quarter-time leading 30-18 on the back of two late triples from Cadee.
Cadee continued his knockdown shooting with a third three early in the second period to stretch the Boomers’ lead to 13 and the hosts ended up going into half-time with a 50-34 advantage.
It was a hot-shooting first half from both teams with the Boomers draining 9/15 from long-range and shooting 62.1 per cent overall while Qatar also hit 7/14 of their three-point attempts.
The Boomers started the second half with a bang too with an alley-oop pass from Gliddon to Hodgson who finished with the two-handed reverse stuff.
That turned into a 18-2 run to start the second half for the Boomers before Qatar eventually stopped the run with a driving layup from Moustafa Essam Fouda.
But it was a monstrous 32-14 third quarter from the Boomers as they led 82-48 by three quarter-time on the back of a late Blanchfield three.
Even Norton got in on the three-point shooting fun to start the last quarter and then the Boomers brought up the century when Gliddon knocked down his fifth three of the night.
Cadee closed the game with his fifth triple too as the Boomers won by 51 points before all 12 players return to NBL action now starting Thursday night with the Sydney Kings hosting the Perth Wildcats.
FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIYING MATCH
BOOMERS 110 (Cadee 21, Gliddon 17, Barlow 12, Blanchfield 12)
QATAR 59 (Mohammed Yousuf 13, Emir Mujkic 11, Mohamed Hassan 9)