Germany’s guards have sprung an upset on Australia, who let a final-quarter lead slip in a potentially costly basketball World Cup group stage loss.
Dennis Schroder starred in Germany’s 85-82 win in Okinawa on Sunday night, the Los Angeles guard sparking a 10-point run to begin the final quarter in a rollicking contest.
Down by one and with Josh Giddey off through the blood rule, Australia had potentially the final possession of the match.
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But Patty Mills lost the ball, and his footing, attempting to drive to the rim.
Germany found an easy basket from the next play and Australia’s cries of a foul on Giddey, shooting a Hail Mary three-pointer to tie the game, were waved away on the buzzer.
The Boomers found themselves down 8-0 after another slow start that prompted an expletive-laden blast from coach Brian Goorjian in a timeout.
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“When I’m hard like that is when the effort, the controllables stuff is off,” the coach said post-game.
“We had two or three guys on the floor asleep.”
The loss leaves Australia, who opened the tournament with a win over Finland, 1-1 ahead of Tuesday’s match against pool-stage hosts Japan.
Patty Mills and the Aussies went down to Germany. Credit: Getty
Victory there would likely put the Boomers through to the second round, although Sunday’s loss will weigh on them given results carry into the next stage.
Only two teams will progress from a second-round pot that will include Germany and most likely Luka Doncic’s Slovenia, who Australia beat for bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.
Schroder (30 points, eight assists) toyed with Australia in the first half before Goorjian’s blast woke them up.
Mills (21 points, six assists, five rebounds) lifted, bombing home the side’s first 13 points, and a Josh Green triple gave Australia their first lead late in the first quarter.
But again Schroder took control in the second term, and after he sank three free-throws they led by five at halftime.
Dennis Schroder led Germany to a narrow win over Australia in their Basketball World Cup group game. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP
Australia’s intent changed after the main break – swarming, switching defence forcing the ball out of Schroder’s hands.
An aggressive Dante Exum chipped in with seven third-quarter points, Xavier Cooks continued his strong defensive work and the Boomers led by four at the final break.
But Schroder, without the help of star wing Franz Wagner (ankle), hit a three to kick-start Germany’s decisive run while fellow guard Maodo Lo had 20 points.
“He (Schroder) just hit shots,” Goorjian said, tipping his cap to both the Lakers’ star and his back-court partner.
“I didn’t think I’d be sitting here talking about how that was how we were losing the game.”
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