The battle raged on between former Arizona Wildcats Nico Mannion of Team Italy and Josh Green of Team Australia in men’s basketball on Wednesday, July 28 at Saitama Super Arena.
The Aussies edged the Italians 86-83 to stay unbeaten in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games. Here are five key stats from Australia’s victory.
Make a three and victory for thee
The Australians took command of the three-point line, shooting 35% on 11 made three-pointers. Italy followed close behind shooting 32% but with only eight made three-pointers. That point differential was 33-24 in Australia’s favor. With the game coming down to three points, Australia made every shot count.
When they weren’t shooting well from the three line, the Aussies were also strong in the paint. They outrebounded the Italians 44-30. Australia really hurt Italy on the offensive boards, outdueling them 16-6. That is too many second-chance points given up, and at the Olympics, you cannot afford to give another team that many chances.
Sharing the ball
In addition to rebounding, the Aussies also had more assists than the Italians by a margin of 26-16. Australia looked more comfortable sharing the ball and taking smarter shots, whereas the Italians would take forced shots since they only have so many shooters.
Every team needs production from their starting five, and Italy did not have that against Australia. Italy’s starting five scored a combined 42 points, including zero points from point guard Marco Spissu and power forward Niccolo Melli. Compare that to the starting five of Australia who combined to score 64 points. It also helps that four of the starting five Aussies have NBA experience.
Ben fatto, Nico!
That translates to well done Nico, as in former Wildcat Nico Mannion. Even in his team’s loss, Mannion dominated coming off the bench, finishing with 21 points, three rebounds and seven assists for Italy. His 21 points were the second-highest on the team and more than anybody on Australia. Which begs the question, why did he not start?
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