Australia denies tanking group game in FIBA World Cup
The Australia national basketball program denies that its team intentionally lost a group game to Angola at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. In a statement, Basketball Australia said "The Australian Boomers went into the game against Angola to win – plain and simple."
The Australians' shoddy play on both ends of the floor during certain stretches raised some eyebrows, with Slovenia point guard Goran Dragic accusing Australia of fixing the game. The loss allowed the Australia to delay a potential matchup with Team USA and set up Slovenia to face the Americans in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Australia was eliminated by Turkey in the round of 16 over the weekend.
FIBA announced on Monday that it opened an investigation into the game. Here is part of the statement released by the sport's international governing body:
The on-court behaviour displayed by Australia in that game generated huge disappointment by basketball fans and experts. It is widely suspected that Australia lost that game in order to avoid having to face the reigning world champions USA until the Semi-Finals.
Basketball Australia also said it had presented a case to FIBA explaining why players were rested or received limited playing time during the game. Noting the importance of the "health" and "wellbeing" of players, the statement described the group play schedule -- five games in six days -- as "grueling", saying it takes a "significant toll" on players.
And let us be extremely clear on this point: we, as Australians, always compete the right way. The Australian Boomers are renowned for their tenacity, competitiveness and hunger to win.
- Chris Johnson