The Australian Emus defeated Latvia 81-52 to secure their first win at the Under-19 FIBA World Cup, as eleven different Emus hit the scoreboard.
Kody Stattmann drew first blood for the Emus in the opening minutes but it was Latvia who got off to quick start, opening up an early seven-point lead.
With the Aussies on the ropes early, it was Kyle Bowen who steadied the team with an and-one to bring the score line back to 10-8. Latvia showed a willingness to let the three-ball fly in the first period, with Arturs Kurucs scoring six first-quarter points.
However, when Callum Dalton connected on a corner three to see the Emus re-take the lead at 14-13, the Australians appeared to wrestle back control. From there, the Emus would go on to lead 23-15 at the end of the first quarter with Kyle Bowen leading the way with eight points and eight boards.
The Emus picked things up where they left off to start the second, with back-to-back buckets courtesy of Sean MacDonald and Isaiah Lee seeing the Emus out to a 12-point lead early in the second.
As the second quarter wore on the Emus defence began to shine with the Emus holding Latvia to just six points in eleven minutes at one stage.
As the quarter continued the Australians began to force the Latvians into turnovers. With the fast breaks starting to open up for the Emus, Gatbel found Kody Stattmann with an alley-oop to set the travelling Aussie fans alight in the stands.
The Aussies took a 46-24 lead into the half-time break thanks to a 23-9 second period, forcing Latvia into eleven first-half turnovers in the process.
The second half saw the Aussies continue to put their foot on the gas, as they dominated all the major statistical categories, including rebounding, points in the paint and points off turnovers.
With the Emus continuing to roll, they got out to a commanding 59-29 lead half-way through the third. As Tamuri Wigness hit a deep three to end the period, the Aussies had again won the quarter, this time 26-14.
Latvia would go on to win the final quarter 14-9 but it was to be in vain, as the Emus would run away as victors 81-52 to secure their first win at the World Cup, staying in touch with the top two in Pool B.
Eleven different players hit the scoreboard for the Emus with Kyle Bowen leading the way with 15 points and ten rebounds, while Tamuri Wigness had nine points, seven assists and three steals.
“Latvia started well from the perimeter but our hand pressure on shooters and rotations started to limit their open looks” shared Emus coach Darren Perry after the game.
“Through our defense and rebounding, we were able to get in transition and find open men which also became a feature of our half court offense.”
“We had great contributions from all the guys and now look forward to the game against Mali.”
The box score is available here.
The Emus will next face Mali at 1:15am AEST on Wednesday morning for a spot in the quarter-finals after Mali defeated Canada 71-70 to sit atop Pool B.
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 vs. Mali at 1.15am
July 4: Round of 16
July 6: Quarter-Finals
July 7: Semi-Finals
July 8: Medal Games