Boomers coach Brett Brown has to pick up the pieces of his shattered team after they were rushed by Slovenia 87-58 in their second-round basketball world championship clash in Turkey.
The Australians came into the knock-out game confident of progressing to the quarter-finals of a major tournament for the first time since the Sydney Olympics, but they quickly fell behind
12-0 and never recovered at the Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul.
Slovenia shot a sensational 48 per cent from three-point territory (16-of-33) and 50 per cent overall while totally shutting the Boomers down offensively to power into the last eight.
Point guard Jako Lakovic led the way with 19 oints, including five three-pointers, but he had plenty of help in the type of one-sided display no-one had predicted.
Patty Mills and Joe Ingles finished with 13 points apiece, but the young Australians appeared verawed by the moment, shooting an anaemic 31 per cent from the floor, including a woeful 2-of-19 from downtown.
Asked if the occasion got the better of the oomers, captain Matt Nielsen replied: “I don’t know. My gut feel is no.
“We got outplayed at the start and then struggled o get back in the game.
“If it did I only hope that moving towards the ondon Olympics we learn from it. Consistency is the main thing.”
It ended an otherwise positive campaign for an Australian side with an average age of just 25 and which will welcome back leading light Andrew Bogut for the 2012 Olympics.
In his first major tournament as head coach, Brown dmits he has some improving to do, but feels he is the right man for the job and the horrible 29-point thrashing wasn’t a true reflection of their tournament, which ended with a 3-3 record.
“We’re very disappointed that we ended this ampaign on that note,” Brown said.
“Personally I feel like it’s a very unfair indication of the steps we were making, to lose in the way we did.
“We need to try and inch our way up to the world lass teams and we’re not there yet.
“We pride ourselves on playing hard, physical efence. We’re not a quick team and tonight Slovenia did a great job of exposing us.”
The Boomers never recovered from a timid pening, falling into a 42-21 hole by halftime.
Their 24 points in the third quarter were more than they managed in the opening half, but it mattered little as Slovenia scored 29 to run away with the game.
“I expected a more difficult match, but we started really well,” Slovenian coach Mehmed Becirovic said.
“It gave us confidence and then we started to shoot well from three-points.
“We started very well, Australia didn’t and that was the difference.”
Slovenia now play the winner of the late match between Turkey and France, while the Australians head home to lick their wounds.