In their final game of the 2015 World University Games, the Emerging Boomers fell to Serbia 72-81 and in doing so, finished in tenth place.
The game proved to be a tight contest, with Serbia gaining the upper-hand thanks to a 25-20 third period to set up a nine-point win.
Mangok Mathiang was once again the shining light for Australia, delivering 16 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots in a commanding individual performance. Mitch Creek was also influential, gathering 14 points and four rebounds.
Australia got off to a great start, with Mathiang scoring four of their first six points as they opened up a 6-2 early lead. Mathiang was doing it all, scoring, pulling down rebounds and turning away a shot.
Keanu Pinder was injected into the game and also added four points, however Serbia finished the quarter strongly with seven straight to steal the lead 15-14 on a triple just before the buzzer sounded.
Both teams traded baskets and the lead throughout the second term with four lead changes and neither side leading by more than five.
Nick Duncan (eight points, four boards) provided four points for the quarter and Hugh Greenwood dropped two three-
Mathiang was again in the thick of the action to open the third, providing six early points and another blocked shot. Greenwood was helping set up his team mates but Serbia countered to open up an 11-point lead.
A basket from Duncan was followed by two free throws to Peter Hooley late in the period, enabling the UniRoos to close to within seven at the last change (52-59).
With six straight points for the Emerging Boomers, Creek tried his best to carry his team to victory. Yet Serbia repelled every Australian challenge, staving off a late run from Mathiang and Maynard to fall short by nine points.
Despite Serbia winning every quarter, there was very little separating the two teams. Australia’s inability to make the most of their opportunities from the line (11-19) was a key reason for the final margin.
Greenwood was the only UniRoo to connect on a triple, making 3-9 from long-range on his way to nine points and four assists, providing great leadership on and off the court. Pinder, who emerged throughout the event, added 11 points on 3-3 shooting and an improved 5-6 from the line.
Mathiang was clearly the standout performer for the UniRoos, emerging to deliver five double-doubles across eight games and leading the team in points and rebounds. It was a remarkable achievement, especially as he is not known as a scoring threat and is now primed for a big junior year at Louisville.
While finishing in tenth place was not the result head coach Andrej Lemanis was aiming for, Australia lost to three quality European teams with only the blowout loss to France an aberration.
4 July, defeated Chinese Taipei 93-47
5 July, lost to France 45-71
7 July, defeated Japan 73-59
8 July, defeated Finland 82-69
9 July, lost to Lithuania 67-71
10 July, Classification (9-16): defeated Turkey 73-67
12 July, Classification (9-12): defeated Korea 92-64
13 July, Final Classification (9-10): lost to Serbia 72-81