Rally falls short for Pac-12 All-Stars against Australia
MELBOURNE, Australia – In front of a crowd of close to 8,000 in Hisense Arena and a nation cheering on its team, the Pac-12 All-Star Team held its own against the Australian Olympic Team Tuesday night in Melbourne. Australia used a third-quarter surge to prevail, topping the Pac-12 All-Stars, 92-83.
Australia, known as the Boomers, is the 11th ranked team in the current FIBA world rankings. The Pac-12 All-Stars knew the challenge ahead of them and did not back down. Arizona’s Kadeem Allen led three conference All-Stars in double figures with 15 points. Utah’s Lorenzo Bonam added 12 and Stanford’s Dorian Pickens contributed ten.
“I was pleased overall,” Pac-12 All-Stars head coach Mike Montgomery said. “That is a great team we are facing. We just didn’t have an answer for Baynes inside. I saw some good things out of our group. It was a great experience for our guys. I am hoping we can come out Thursday and make some corrections and play a little bit better.”
The conference’s elite squad, headed by the legendary coach, surged out to an advantage early on, taking a 20-13 lead on a three-pointer by Oregon State’s Stevie Thompson Jr. midway through the first quarter.
Led by seven first-quarter points from Allen and a buzzer-beating jumper by USC’s Jordan McLaughlin, the Pac-12 All-Stars finished the first quarter with a 24-20 advantage.
Australia went on a 7-0 run early in the second period and the two teams waged a see-saw battle throughout the rest of the quarter. Pickens found McLaughlin in the corner and McLaughlin buried a three-pointer to cut Australia’s advantage to one point (38-37) with 4:28 left in the half.
Australia’s Patty Mills connected on a three-pointer to give the Boomers 50 points with less than a minute to go in the half, but Oregon State’s Drew Eubanks responded with a bucket of his own to pull the Pac-12 All-Stars within two points (50-48) at the break.
The Boomers scored the first 10 points of the second half to surge out to a double-digit lead, out-scoring the Pac-12 All-Stars, 24-13 in the third quarter. Australia’s Aron Baynes collected eight points in the third period, as the Boomer led by as many as 18 points in the frame.
The Pac-12 All-Stars refused to go down without a fight, however. They continued to chip away at Australia’s lead throughout the fourth period. A three-pointer by Bonam was followed by a three-point play from Allen to pull the All-Stars within eight at 89-81 with 1:21 to play.
The Pac-12 All-Stars locked up Mills to force a turnover with less than a minute left, but couldn’t knock down a three-pointer on the other end. The Pac-12 All-Stars fell just short as time ran out, and Australia came away with the nine-point win (92-83).
Australia was led by Aaron Baynes with 28 points and nine rebounds, while Mills added 15 for the Boomers.
The Pac-12 All-Stars and the Australia Olympic Team will conclude their two-game exhibition series on Thursday at 2:30 a.m. PT at Hisense Arena in Melbourne
For game stats, click here.