The Australia men’s basketball team opened the second round of the FIBA World Cup 2023 with a 91-80 loss to Slovenia on Friday (1 September).
The defeat means that the Boomers can no longer qualify for the quarter-finals. Slovenia guaranteed their progress from Group K along with and Germany, with a game to spare in phase two.
Turnovers were costly for Australia in the first half, and at the same time the Boomers shot just 39 percent from the field. Slovenia on the other hand looked comfortable with Mike Tobey showing the way, scoring 13 points in the first 20 minutes. The score was 49-40 at halftime.
A completely changed Australia team came out to the second half. Led by Josh Giddey, who scored 14 of his 20 points in the frame, the Aussies reduced Slovenia’s advantage to just four points after the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, NBA star Luka Doncic and Slovenia stepped up their game and took advantage of the mistakes made by Australia to win the game 91-80.
Australia’s Giddey scored a game-high 25 points and made four assists. Doncic, who has been averaging 30 points so far, had to sit out the majority of the second frame with foul trouble. The Slovenian superstar ended on 20 points and six assists in the game.
Despite never having won a medal at the world championships, Australia had high expectations for the FIBA World Cup 2023, after securing their first Olympic medal at Tokyo 2020, beating Slovenia 107-93 in the battle for third.
The Boomers secured a spot for Paris 2024 on Tuesday by being the only team from the Oceania region to advance from the first group stage. They will face Georgia in their final game of Phase 2 on Sunday.
In the Preliminary phase, the Aussies had defeated Finland and Japan to finish runner-up in Group E behind Germany.
The FIBA World Cup 2023 concludes on 10 September with the final taking place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.