Boomers defeat plucky Bahrain 83-51 in FIBA World Cup qualifier

Isaac Humphries scored 18 points as the Boomers downed Bahrain 83-51 in Melbourne.

Isaac Humphries scored 18 points as the Boomers downed Bahrain 83-51 in Melbourne. Photo: AAP

Australia has shrugged off a rusty start and a horrific third quarter to comfortably defeat Bahrain 83-51 in their men’s basketball World Cup Asian qualifier in Melbourne.

The Boomers fell into a surprise early hole in Thursday night’s Group F clash against 84th-ranked Bahrain at the State Basketball Centre, before restoring order with a 27-5 second term.

Coming off a quiet season with Perth, veteran Todd Blanchfield top scored with 20 points while centre Isaac Humphries notched 18 in his first game in the green-and-gold since 2019.

Naturalised American power forward Wayne Chism (15 points) and zippy sixth man Haji (14) led the way for Bahrain, which held strong for large stretches and was certainly not embarrassed.

World No.3 Australia easily won the previous clash between the two teams by 54 points at the Khalifa Sports Stadium in August.

But the hosts received an early jolt this time when Bahrain burst out to a 14-8 lead.

The tourists still led 19-18 late in the opening stanza before the Aussies cranked up the defensive pressure and went on a 23-0 spree either side of quarter-time.

Blanchfield had 13 points in barely three minutes as Bahrain momentarily fell to pieces.

But Australia’s commanding 52-24 halftime lead was trimmed to 59-43 at the final change after Chism and Haji helped Bahrain dominate the third term 19-7.

Inexplicably, the Boomers went ice cold, missing 16 of their 17 shots for the quarter as they were out-rebounded 15-9.

Their struggles didn’t last though as Blanchfield and Humphries got rolling in the fourth, joined by captain Nick Kay and his fellow Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Nathan Sobey.

They helped Australia recapture the momentum with a 24-8 final term.

The Boomers, who have already booked their spot in the World Cup starting in August, take on Kazakhstan in the last qualifier on Sunday.

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