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Boomers sweep Oceania basketball series
Guy Hand
18:05 AEST Sun Sep 11 2011

Australia completed a clean sweep of their Oceania men's basketball series as giant centre Aleks Maric monstered New Zealand to spearhead a 24-point win at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Sunday.

Having already secured Olympic Games qualification with wins in the opening two matches of the best-of-three series, the Boomers rounded off in the best possible style with a comfortable 92-68 victory.

European-based centre Maric was dominant inside, bludgeoning the Tall Blacks in the paint with 27 points and eight rebounds.

The Sydney-born 26-year-old had great support from all his teammates - led by forward David Barlow with 17 points and guard Patty Mills (14 points, four assists, four rebounds).

Just as they had in the opening two games of the series, the Boomers tore open a deadlocked match with a second-half burst of scoring, precision passing and stingy defence.

This time, it came early in the third quarter - a 16-4 run spearheaded by Joe Ingles, Mills and Maric turning the Tall Blacks from arm-wrestlers into the Boomers' punching bags.

Ingles scored eight of his 10 points for the match and had three assists in the term, while Mills and Maric buttered up for six points apiece as the game turned Australia's way.

Shooting guard Kirk Penney was again exceptional for the Tall Blacks, leading their scoring with 27 points despite suffocating attention from the Boomers' defence.

The Boomers went into Sunday's match without two key players.

Skipper Matt Nielsen did not play because of a back injury, while forward Mark Worthington was also a late withdrawal.

He injured his shoulder in training on Sunday morning, with medical staff deciding not to risk him in the dead rubber.

While New Zealand have missed out on direct qualification for next year's London Olympics, they have a second chance to get there via a worldwide repechage tournament.


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