Australia led by fourteen points at half time and Turkey never got the margin into single digits in the second half as the Boomers’ relentless pressure caused havoc from tip off to the final buzzer.
James Harvey, the veteran of the team at 30 years of age, had 14 points to lead Australia while starting centre AJ Ogilvy was solid in the paint and finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
Harvey, Ogilvy and 18-year old point guard Matthew Dellavedova were named in the tournament’s All-Star Five alongside China’s former NBA player Wang Zhi Zhi and Turkey’s Hakan Demeril, with Harvey winning the Most Valuable Player of the tournament award.
Dellavedova contributed 8 points and 6 rebounds in the Gold Medal victory, Peter Crawford notched 8 points and 4 assists while Jacob Holmes added 10 points off the bench. Umi Turkoglu and Ibrahim Yildrim paced Turkey with 11 points apiece.
A winner over Turkey, China and Angola in the preliminary rounds, Australia was the only undefeated country at the four nation event and bettered its previous best at the tournament, a Bronze Medal in 2005.
Boomers head coach Brett Brown was feeling good after the game and proudly spoke about his young, inexperienced team and the victory they achieved.
“It validates the importance of getting the right group together because when you get that you can get a team that overachieves,” Brown said.
“We felt like we needed to win here after losing to New Zealand, we wanted to fix that quick smart, and some people might say that this team possibly wasn’t as talented as the one that lost to the Tall Blacks but this team here had a hell of a lot of spirit and passion.
“Defensively we were strong and we held Turkey to ten, thirteen, fifteen and fourteen point periods. We were on point, we played with determination and sure it was a defensive slugfest but we needed to do that to win the game.”
Dellavedova, Harvey, Crawford, Forman and Ogilvy started the game for Australia and after Turkey opened the scoring on a free throw it was Ogilvy converting an offensive rebound for the Boomers’ first score.
After four scrappy minutes Dellavedova hit a three to put Australia up 5-1 and Turkey continued to struggle with the tenacious Boomers defence until their first field goal, a three pointer, after more than six minutes of play.
Australia couldn’t convert good opportunities but a Jacob Holmes three pointer one minute out from the break lifted the Boomers and despite Turkey scoring on the quarter time buzzer the green and gold were up nine, 19-10.
Holmes hit another three to open the second period, Crawford followed with the same and when Harvey converted a nice drive the Boomers had doubled their opponent’s score to lead 27-13.
A barrage of Australian three point attempts then followed without much success as Turkey pounded the ball inside to chip back some of the deficit and when the half time hooter sounded the margin had stayed at nine points with Australia in front 32-23.
Australia won the rebound count 18-13 in a first half where both teams shot half their attempts from beyond the arc, with Australia 5-of-16 and Turkey a lacklustre 2-of-14.
Ogilvy finished an old fashioned three-point play to open the second half and scored the next two points for Australia but Turkey continued with their inside play to stay in touch.
Crawford then hit a purple patch with five quick points spaced by a defensive rebound and when Dellavedova finished a three-point play the Boomers were up by sixteen.
Schenscher and Holmes used their Adelaide 36ers connection to pace Australia for the remainder of the quarter and with ten minutes to play the Boomers led by eighteen, 56-38.
Australia showed no killer instinct in the fourth quarter as the score crept to 63-49 with less than four minutes to play and Turkey sent a shiver down Australia’s spine with a three pointer after a time out, but the Boomers broke the Turkish press for an Ogilvy layup and the lead was back out to thirteen and the pressure eased.
Harvey drained a long three pointer for an exclamation point when 26 seconds remained and Australia took out the Stankovic Cup Gold Medal with the seventeen point victory.
Brown was reluctant to single out his star players after a collective team effort but he did make mention of tournament MVP Harvey as well as All-Star Five representatives Ogilvy and Dellavedova.
“I think it’s fantastic for James,” Brown said. “He really committed himself several months ago to making this team and he had a decent first tour to China, he was injured for the South American tour and he came into this as one of our more experienced players.
“He’s smart enough to know that he has to be a game changer and he did that over here and he was rewarded for his efforts. He deserves it.
“AJ was one of the finds of the winter and we are so grateful that we were able to get him back from Vanderbilt. He had a great tournament and his better days are ahead of him and the same applies to Della. He’s a tough, young, competitive point guard that can play multiple positions and he really cares and he wants to get better.”
In tonight’s earlier match, Zhou Peng scored 20 points as China defeated Angola 58-50 to claim the Bronze Medal.
Quarter by quarter:
1. AUS 19 TUR 10
H. AUS 32 TUR 23 (13-13)
3. AUS 56 TUR 38 (24-15)
F. AUS 69 TUR 52 (13-14)
[Box score currently unavailable]
AUSTRALIA 69 (James Harvey 14, AJ Ogilvy 14, Jacob Holmes 10) bt
TURKEY 52 (Umi Turkoglu 11, Ibrahim Yildrim 11, Hakan Yapar 6)
in Kunshan City, China
at Boris Stakovic Continental Cup
Gold Medal: AUSTRALIA
Silver Medal: TURKEY
Bronze Medal: CHINA
All Star Five:
Matthew Dellavedova – AUS
James Harvey – AUS
Hakan Demeril – TUR
Wang Zhi Zhi – CHN
AJ Ogilvy – AUS
Tournament Most Valuable Player:
James Harvey - AUS
Photos courtesy of Sina