Backing up from their win over Chinese Taipei in the first window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, Australia once again took care of their opponents, 88-68, to officially qualify for the second round later this year.
The visitors started strong with a three-pointer to get things going and Ying-Chun Chen looked dangerous early but once Chinese Taipei’s long-range shots stopped falling, they struggled to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Mitch Creek stepped up for the Boomers, scoring 14 points before the main break without missing a shot including multiple dunks that got the crowd on their feet.
His ability to weave through the defence and find the open player if his shot was not free proved unstoppable as he eventually finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and three assists on 100% shooting without playing the fourth quarter.
The Boomers front court took advantage of an undersized Chinese Taipei team as well with Matt Hodgson (ten points, seven rebounds) controlling the paint.
Quincy Davis held his own with 18 points and 11 rebounds in a key-match-up but the Aussies were boosted by Nick Kay (nine points, five boards, five assists) and Angus Brandt (six points, nine rebounds) as the Boomers finished with a +20 rebound edge.
Owning a lead of 22 points at the main break, Australia were met with more resistance in the third term and Chinese Taipei won the third period 24-21.
Australia persisted with their bench though and it ensured every player was able to lodge significant minutes as their second unit also finished with a 38-6 advantage.
Jesse Wagstaff (three points, five rebounds) received some valuable court time, Mitch McCarron collected 11 points and five steals while Nathan Sobey tallied seven points including a stunning alley-oop from Kevin Lisch (two points, three assists).
Chinese Taipei maintained their intensity right until the final siren but Australia settled down the stretch to win the final quarter and finish with a 20-point victory to seal a spot in the second round.
Find the box score here.
The Boomers will now play the final two games of the first round in late June/early July against Japan and Philippines on the road.
While they have the chance to move to 6-0 and stay unbeaten in the Asian region, they can now afford to look ahead to the second window which begins in September when they will take on the top three teams from Group D (Iran, Qatar, Kazakhstan and Iraq).
The newly formed Group F, consisting of the six teams that have advanced, will then see the top three teams qualify for the FIBA World Cup which will be hosted in China in September 2019.