The Australian Under-23 Spinners have bounced back from two Day 2 losses at the AOZ qualifiers with a solid performance against Thailand, winning 67-53.
With one game remaining in the group stage, the victory shores up their chances of a top-four finish which will give themselves every chance of qualifying for the World Championships.
Thailand flew out of the blocks to open up a 6-0 lead at the start of the clash courtesy of Pongsakorn Sripirom (27 points, ten rebounds).
Tom O’Neill-Thorne was able to answer from long distance though, draining three consecutive three pointers to give Australia the lead and while they were never able to gain a healthy advantage, Thailand were always fighting to stay within a couple of baskets up until the half-time break.
O’Neill-Thorne then found himself in foul trouble in the third quarter and with the threat of their offence drying up, Brian Carminati (20 points) came to the fore, scoring ten points in the term and maintaining the Spinners’ six-point advantage heading into the final break.
He then combined with O’Neill-Thorne, who recorded an incredible triple-double of 25 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, in the fourth quarter as Australia finally put away their opposition with a 20-12 final period.
Jeremy Tyndall and Thomas Holland impressed on the boards, combining for 19 rebounds including seven offensive which helped the Spinners earn a 17-2 advantage in second chance points but giving up 17 points off turnovers will be a concern as they head into a clash today with China.
Jontee Brown hit the scoreboard again, tallying six points as coach Luke Brennan ensured every Spinner received court time for the fourth straight game.
Heading into the final day of group games, the standings are as follows:
Japan– 3 wins (total margin of +184)
Iran– 3 wins (+172)
Australia– 2 wins (+48)
China– 1 win (-89)
Thailand– 1 win (-19)
India– 0 wins (-296)
The Australian Under-23 Spinners AOZ Qualifiers Schedule (all times AEDT):
Thursday, January 26: Australia vs. China at 5.30pm
Friday, January 27: 5th vs. 6th at 3.30pm
Friday, January 27: 1st vs. 4th at 5.30pm
Friday, January 27: 2nd vs. 3rd at 7.30pm
Saturday, January 28: Bronze medal game at 4pm
Saturday, January 28: Gold medal game at 6.30pm
Keep an eye on the Basketball Australia Twitter for updates throughout their games.