The Airbnb Emus pulled off a major coup in the Round of 16 at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championships, defeating reigning European Under-18 silver medalists, Serbia.
The 69-56 victory sees the Emus progress to the Quarter Finals of the tournaments.
The Emus were leading 29-25 with 6:10 left in the first half before closing the second quarter on a 13-2 run to go ahead 42-27 at intermission. Serbia were never able to chip into the lead. Jack McVeigh collected 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Emus moved into the Final Eight for the eighth-straight time in the competition.
“I am so proud of the group for how hard we played tonight,” said Emus coach, Adam Caporn. “We showed some true Aussie spirit and gave it everything we had on the defensive end.”
In what was a mammoth team effort, three players – Dejan Vasiljevic, Kyle Clark and McVeigh – scored at least 15 points, while the Emus scored 30 points off the bench. The Emus also forced 20 Serbian turnovers and kept the Europeans from getting out in transition as Serbia had just five fast break points.
“Everyone contributed and we just had so many gutsy performances,” continued Caporn. “Deng Gak, Jordan Hunter, George Blagojevic and Jack White just battled and battled inside. They don’t get much credit on the stat sheet but their work inside was key in us controlling that game.
“I thought Tom Wilson did a terrific job leading the group and winning a key matchup in the game, while Kyle Clark, Jack McVeigh and Will McDowell-White kept our offense ticking over.”
Box scores from the match can be found here.
The Emus went in to the Round of 16 with one win – against Tunisia – and defeats by a combined five points at the hands of Canada and Italy. Given the clash against Serbia was a must-win, Caporn was extremely pleased with the fresh attitude of his team.
“The playing group has demonstrated great maturity and professionalism by staying completely focused on the task at hand,” he explained. “Mark Radford and Tim Mallon did a great job scouting and preparing us for that game and combined with our effort and energy on defence, we were able to stifle a very good team. The player’s preparation and attitudes have remained at a very high level no matter what the result.”
The Emus will next face Turkey, who defeated Iran 73-63. Turkey defeated Serbia at last year’s European Under-18 Championships for the gold medal.
“Our new challenge is to continue that trend and do everything we can to prepare for U18 European Champions,” said Caporn.