Australia beats Germany 89-76 to sweep basketball pool
SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Patty Mills scored 24 points, Jock Landale added 18 and Australia pulled away Saturday for an 89-76 victory over Germany and an undefeated finish to group play.
Nic Kay helped the Australians finally break free in a close game and finished with 16 points.
The Australians went 3-0 to win Group B, a balanced pool where they, Italy and Germany all played competitive games against each other.
Italy finished second at 2-1. Germany will hope to be one of the two third-place teams that will reach the quarters along with the top two teams in each of the three pools.
Andreas Obst scored 17 points for Germany. Niells Giffey and Johannes Thiemann each had 11 points.
Australia was playing its first game since losing center Aron Baynes to a neck injury. He was hurt Wednesday, when the Australians beat Italy.
But the 6-foot-11 Landale and the 6-9 Kay did plenty of good work inside to make sure he wasn’t missed.
The teams traded swings of momentum for nearly 3 1/2 quarters before Australia finally seized it for good. Mills scored, fed Kay for a basket and then Landale scored for a 6-0 run that pushed a five-point lead to 83-72 with about 4 1/2 minutes to play.
Kay then followed a pair of free throws by Thiemann with two more baskets as Australia opened an 87-74 cushion.
Australia will open the quarterfinals Tuesday needing a victory and then one more to win its first Olympic medal. The Australians have finished fourth four times, including in 2016 in Rio.
Germany won the Olympic qualifying tournament in Croatia to earn one of the last four spots in Tokyo and earn its first Olympic spot since 2008. The Germans have also never medaled in men’s basketball.
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