Following their success against them in the group stage, the Australian Emus have defeated Latvia for a second time at the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, prevailing 94-80 as the classification games continue.
The Emus were made to work for the win as Latvia threatened with a couple of significant runs throughout the contest but a 30-10 opening term proved too much to overcome as Australia consistently owned at least a double-digit edge.
Offensive rebounds and a full-court press worked for Australia in the first quarter with Keli Leaupepe (nine points, six rebounds) asserting himself on the glass.
Kody Stattmann (11 points, six boards) had a put-back off his own miss as well to help the Emus tally five offensive rebounds in as many minutes to start the game.
They also had nine players hit the scoreboard with their free-flowing offence causing havoc for Latvia while two three-pointers from Callum Dalton (11 points, five rebounds) helped extend the lead to 20 by the first break.
After missing all six attempts in the first quarter, Latvia found their range from beyond the arc in the second term and that saw them reduce the margin to ten.
Australia were able to draw fouls and make the most of their trips to the free-throw line though with Dalton (11 points, five rebounds) and Kyle Bowen combining for 18 points in the first half.
That kept the lead in double-figures at the main break despite Latvia throwing everything they had at the Aussies.
The halt in play came at the perfect time for the Emus and Alex Ducas reaffirmed Australia’s hold on the game with consecutive and-one conversions.
Sean MacDonald (five points, two assists) set him up for one of those and-one’s with a pinpoint outlet pass and he followed that up with a three-pointer of his own as the Emus moved back in front by 21.
Latvia countered with an 11-3 run but Ducas (20 points, six rebounds) stood in their way, taking his personal tally for the quarter to 13 with another triple.
At the other end of the floor, Bowen (eight points) and Sam Froling (11 points, six rebounds) each had blocks to halt Latvia’s progress and make it a 17-point game at the last change.
Josh Gatbel (six points, two steals) got on the scoreboard in the final period and he did some damage alongside Wani Swaka Lo Buluk (five points, two steals) while Isaiah Lee’s three points and eight assists ensured there would not be a miraculous comeback from the Latvians.
“We started very well at both ends, defending with disruption and moving the ball to find open men on offence,” said Emus head coach Darren Perry.
“Latvia kept working hard as they always do and reduced our margin a number of times but every time we were challenged we found answers.
“All the guys contributed well in this win. We now look forward to our last game of the tournament to finish the campaign with a win.”
Find the box score here and watch the replay below.
The Emus now await the last results from the penultimate day of the competition as they will take on the winner of Argentina vs. Greece late Sunday night for ninth place.
The Australian Emus Schedule for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup (all times AEST):
June 29: Emus def. by Canada 76-81
June 30: Emus def. Latvia 81-52
July 3: Emus def. Mali 82-79
July 4: Round of 16- Emus def. by Lithuania 74-91
July 5: 9-16 Classification Game- Emus def. Philippines 82-60
July 6: 9-12 Classification Game- Emus def. Latvia 94-80
July 7: 9-10 Classification Game- Emus vs. Greece at 10.30pm