Duncan, Australia into Quarterfinals

July 3, 2013

Also: Feature Story on Duncan and Boise State's Australian Connection (courtesy FIBA)

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Boise State incoming freshman Nicholas Duncan poured in 13 points to help Australia emerge victorious in a must-win game against Russia, Wednesday, at the FIBA U19 World Championships. Duncan was 5-of-6 from the floor in the 78-61 win, setting up a quarterfinal matchup Friday, against Spain.

Russia jumped out to an early 14-7 lead against the Emus (Australia's junior national team) eight minutes into the game. That's when Duncan asserted himself. The future Bronco lined up a three-pointer to trim the deficit to four. By the end of the quarter Australia was down just two.

Australia finally took the lead midway through the second quarter at 23-21. Russia never let the Emus get too far ahead, tying the game at 25 and again at 27 with two minutes to play until halftime. Again, enter Duncan. The 6-foot-7 forward stepped back outside and knocked down two more triples before the horn to give Australia a 33-27 lead at the break, its biggest advantage to that point.

Duncan scored on the first possession of the second half to give him eight-straight points in the game. The lead crept up to 10 before Russia battled back and made it a one-point game at 44-43 with 5:30 left in the third period. Russia missed on two chances to take the lead and the Emus rattled off nine-straight points.

Russia made one last charge at the start of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to five. Australia scored the next 13 points in a span of 3:14 and rolled to the win. Duncan added another basket minutes later for his final tally.

The Emus finished 3-3 through the two rounds of pool play, good for the fourth-and-final qualifying position from Group F. Duncan is averaging 9.5 points per game, shooting 54.8 percent from the floor including 6-for-11 (54.5 percent) from three-point range. He is also pulling down 5.2 rebounds per contest.

Australia will face Spain Friday at 7:30 a.m. (MT), in a quarterfinal matchup. Spain is the top qualifier out of Group E with a 5-1 overall record and the tiebreaker against Lithuania and Croatia (which both also finished 5-1).

Bronco rising juniors Anthony Drmic and Igor Hadziomerovic represented Australia at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championships. Drmic and Hadziomerovic also led the Emus to the quarterfinals, eventually finishing sixth.

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