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Australia shake off Czech Republic for historic Semi-Finals berth
SHANGHAI (China) - Czech Republic kept things close for two quarters before Australia turned up the jets and ran away with an 82-70 Quarter-Finals win at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.
Behind the superb playmaking of Tomas Satoransky and the scoring of Patrik Auda, Czech Republic gave Australia all they could handle for about 25 minutes, but the Boomers just blew the game open, pulled away when coach Andrej Lemanis' players shifted into high gear to keep their foes at bay.
Patty Mills, Chris Goulding and Andrew Bogut carried Australia in this game, combining to score 43 points for Australia, who booked their sixth win in a row at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. Czech Republic, meanwhile, drew 21 points from Patrik Auda and a sublime performance from Tomas Satoransky, who tallied 13 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds, narrowly missing a rare triple-double.
Turning Point: Things continued to be tight in the third quarter with the game last tied at 43-all, but that's when Australia began to roll, outscoring the Czechs, 25-5, for the remainder of the period to take a commanding 63-48 lead into the fourth. Czech Republic would not go down without a fight, cutting the lead to 8 points, but that was as close as it would get.
TCL Player of the Game: Mills was his usual brilliant self in this game, shooting 9-of-15 from the field en route to a game-high 24 points. He also added 6 assists and 4 rebounds while also landing six bombs from beyond the arc. With Mills shooting so well, Australia were just too good against the upstart Czechs.
Stats Don't Lie: Czech Republic experimented with a small-ball combination in the second half, and it bit them hard as Australia dominated the glass. In total, the Boomers outrebounded their opponents, 41-34, and had more second chance points, 14-2. Australia also forced five more turnovers from the Czechs, scoring 25 points off these errors.
Bottom Line: Australia qualified World Cup Semi-Finals for the first time ever and have a great chance to add even more to their already historic campaign if they advance to the Final. To do that, however, they'll have to topple mighty Spain in Beijing on September 13.
Czech Republic, meanwhile, had an inspired run here at the World Cup but saw it come to an end in Shanghai at the hands of a bigger and deeper Boomers quintet. Now they are assured of a spot in next year's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and are going to shoot for as high a finish as possible in the Classification Round.
They Said: "It's a privilege to be here in China and this experience is second to none. We got a bunch of Aussies in the crowd, we played for each other, we played the right way and we understand that we have Australia behind us. Every time we put on that green and gold, it's special. You can feel it in the locker room, on the court, in the huddles and in a lot of different situations." - Australia guard Mitch Creek
"I'm pleased with the game. They're a good basketball team, and we have a lot of respect for the way they played in this tournament. I thought that with their switching defenses, they caused us to be a little anxious early. We struggled to find our rhythm offensively, but once we did, I thought we did a nice job of starting to penalize their defense. It was a good, solid performance. It's always just humbling how great the guys are, how they stick together through the highs and lows." - Australia head coach Andrej Lemanis
"Congratulations to Australia. They played a really good game today. I'm really proud of our team. We were really fighting till the last second. We had a really good first half. I think in the second half we started to play a little bad on defense. Australia was sharing the ball really well, and they scored some easy baskets from it." - Czech Republic forward Patrik Auda
"I think we played against a very good team. I think that in the first half we had options to finish with better results. In the second half we had problems on defense. When we played with a small lineup, we could score but have problems on defense. When we played with a big lineup, we wouldn't play well on offense. This is what happens when you play a team like Australia. Of course, we're disappointed, but when time passes we will remember this as a great summer." - Czech Republic head coach Ronen Ginzburg