18 August 2016
The Australian men’s basketball team is one win away from an historic Olympic medal after the Boomers defeated Lithuania 90-64 to secure a place in the semi-finals.
Australia plays Serbia in a semi-final on Saturday (4:30am AEST), with the winner to progress to the gold medal match against the winner of the United States and Spain.
While excitement builds about the Boomers’ potential to claim their first Olympic medal, centre Andrew Bogut says the players are focused on gold.
“This team believes,” Bogut said. “I’ve been on teams where we say all that but there’s still that doubt there. We believe we can beat teams so there’s that mindset there and we’ve got a resilient group that plays hard.
“We want to win the next game. We want to go as far as we can go and the goal for us has always been the gold.
“But we know Australia has been in this position two other times and finished fourth both times so, no pressure, but we know we’ve got a tough team coming next round.”
The Boomers were relentless from start to finish against Lithuania, executing their game plan to perfection against world basketball’s third ranked nation.
Patty Mills (24 points), Aron Baynes (16 points) and Matthew Dellavedova (15 points) laid the foundations for victory.
“That was just a fantastic execution by the guys,” said Boomers assistant coach Luc Longley.
“They made their shots but it’s always a surprise when you beat Lithuania well like that because they’re such a good basketball nation.”
In other news veteran paddler Ken Wallace and Olympic debutant Lachlan Tame qualified for tonight’s men’s kayak double 1000m while BMX riders took to the track with Australia’s best hopes Caroline Buchanan and Sam Willoughby seeded second and third respectively.
Sailing was postponed because of weather conditions, with Will Ryan and Mat Belcher still in the hunt to defend their Olympic title in the 470 class.