Bronze medal hopes still alive as Scotland’s unbeaten run comes to an end against juggernauts Australia as they fall 103-46.
Scotland had been dubbed as “underdogs” the whole competition. They weren’t meant to beat Australia, but then, they weren’t meant to beat England, or Cameroon or even India and supposedly definitely not Nigeria, either. Head coach Rob Beveridge knew he and his team were up against some tough competition in his birth country. But we’re Scots and we don’t go down without a fight.
Both teams came out of the opening tip struggling to shoot the ball well early on, ex-Fury and current Rocks stars Ali Fraser and Jonny Bunyan the only ones to put points on the board for us in the first 5 minutes.
Australia picked it up and went four from six from the 3pt line and led 14-4 as Rob Beveridge was forced into a timeout after an 8-0 run from the Aussies. Scotland struggled to beat the high calibre Australian defence as we went 2 from 10 from the floor and were always left with single figures on the shot clock before anyone managed a shot attempt. Nevertheless, the defence was good, forcing Australia into the more difficult shot.
Rob Beveridge had instilled a tough physical defensive intensity. Turnovers were an issue for the guys too as Scotland granted possession to the home team as their suffocating defence proved too much to manage. As the 1st quarter came to a close, Australia were showing their class as they led 20-4.
The shooting woes continued for our boys, but not for the Boomers as they cut to the basket for consecutive scores. Bunyan ended the scoring drought for Scotland, but the defence switched off and left Aussie shooters open on the 3pt line and couldn’t protect the basket as the Australian lead rose to 23, 29-6 with 6 minutes left in the second quarter.
Callan Low checked in early and caused problems for the Australians with his instant energy off the bench. Scotland’s 2nd timeout of the first half was used as Beveridge had stern words for his men with a list of things needing improved.
Murray hit just the 3rd field goal for Scotland as they trailed 31-10, freethrows being the only thing that Scotland led in. Jason Cadee was playing every role he could for the Australian side as he caused real issues for Scotland, going 3 from 3 from outside the arc.
Fraser Malcolm hit Scotland’s first 3 after 11 attempts, followed by a spectacular and-1 play from St Mirren star Nick Collins, Scotland trailing 37-18 with under 2 minutes left in the half. From highs to lows, Scotland couldn’t rebound on the defensive end after grabbing tough rebounds on the offensive ends. As a result, Australia were controlling things 48-22 by the end of the half.
Dominant play continued from the home nation as they struck from 3 and converted on a forced turnover. As well as shooting the lights out from beyond the arc, the Boomers worked the high-low in the post to get good inside looks.
Rob Beveridge had a tough decision to make, as the Bronze medal game was at 9 am (Local Time) the following morning; does he rest his starters or keep them in and try and close the gap? The gap was big enough that the commentators could give an educated guess as the quarter score alone was 22-2.
Scotland turned the ball over several times under their own basket that resulted in Australia shooting 68%(15/22) from 3. Chris Cleary chipped in with some excellent effort as he hit a three and tried facilitating the offence to get his guys open looks. Malcom also chipped in with his second 3 of the game in transition off the Bunyan assist.
The stadium, TV crew and both teams couldn’t believe the rate at which Andrej Lemanis’ men were hitting three-pointers at 67%. His men commanding an 83-32 lead at the end of the 3rd.
Malcolm was himself, showing up from three as he opened the scoring for Scotland. 11 of Australia’s 12 players chipped in with a bucket, with 7 mins left in the 4th, it was up to Lucas Walker to score. As if on cue, Walker battled down low for a contested layup, meaning every Australian had scored.
Beveridge called a timeout as his men trailed 95-37, Rob Beveridge begged for ball movement and to work certain things that they could practice for tomorrow’s bronze medal game. The ex-Fury and Rocks duo Fraser and Bunyan played some great tandem basketball as they worked the pick and roll, and Jonny made the pass for Ali’s easy basket.
The Boomers couldn’t miss in the final minutes of the 4th period as they went on to seal the victory and a place in the gold medal match as they defeated Scotland 103-46. Fraser Malcolm and Alasdair Fraser both finished as Scotland’s top scorers with 9 points.
Scotland will face New Zealand tomorrow in the Bronze Final.