Aussie U17 men's team start China tour strongly
The U17 men’s team has made a strong start to their tour of China, taking victories in their first three matches of the trip.
In the first match-up, the Aussies defeated China in OT. China took it up to the jet-lagged Aussies, and looked to welcome Australia to the tour with a loss in game one. But, the side found a way to sneak away with the tough-fought 84-78 win. Nick Duncan finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Felix von Hofe also double-doubled with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Jack Purchase added 10 points and 5 rebounds.
In the second game of the tour, the Aussies were again pushed to the limits, this time by a tough Voerlose Denmark side, but the Aussies managed to hold on to a 77-72 victory, thanks in part to some big shots from deep made by the likes of Jack Purchase and Felix von Hofe.
Dante Exum finished with 16 points in limited minutes, while Josh Derksen added 12 points. Ben Simmons, although not having a big impact offensively has been doing some serious work on the defensive end of the floor.
Finally, the Aussie battled Lithuania, who came out very strong in the first half and found holes in the Australian defence to lead 39-33 at the half.
Despite struggling in the first half, a tight zone defense saw the U17 Australian side claw their way back into control in the second half, and eventually take the 83-76 win.
Luxford finished with 19 points for the Aussies, while Ben Simmons finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
“ Ben Simmons with 11 points and 8 rebounds, and Michael Luxford with 19 points, were two of our best players. Gerard Martin with 9 points and Matt Jackson (7 points and 5 rebounds) played strong defence to spark our recovery,” said head coach Guy Molloy.