Boomers too strong for Japan
BRISBANE Bullets forward Daniel Kickert came up big when it mattered to help Australia to a 84- 68 victory over Japan on the opening day of the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon.
The Boomers continue their campaign against Hong Kong tonight after an encouraging start to the tournament, having the win in the bag by three- quarter time.
Kickert started at power forward and finished with 11 points, four rebounds and five assists with five Boomers finishing in double- figures.
Cairns captain Cam Gliddon and fellow starting guard Jason Cadee both had 13 points while Adelaide duo Matt Hodgson ( 11 points) and Mitch Creek ( 10) stood tall.
Japan flew out of the gates but only led by one point after Kickert and Hodgson added late buckets. A Kickert lay- up and two free throws at the start of the second term sparked a 16- 7 run for Australia, who outscored Japan 23- 11 for the term to seize an 11- point halftime lead.
The Boomers kept Japan scoreless in the first three minutes of the third term. Some resistance was quashed by some Cadee brilliance, a scoring burst from Nick Kay and a three- pointer from Kickert to hand Australia a 21- point buffer at the last change.
Australia completely dominated the rebounds 44- 16 with Hodgson leading the way with 12 boards ( six offensive).
After tonight’s clash with Hong Kong, Australia will face Chinese Taipei in their final pool game on Saturday. The quarter- finals will begin on August 17 with the semi- finals and medal games to be contested over August 19- 20.
The Boomers ( 10th) are the highest ranked side in the 16nation tournament and are likely to meet either China or New Zealand at the business end of the competition.