NANJING, CHINA – Veteran center Andrew Bogut ran the gauntlet once more at the FIBA World Cup in China as Australia planted one foot in the quarterfinals with an 82-76 victory over the Dominican Republic on Saturday.
The 34-year-old, a key member of the Golden State Warriors’ NBA championship-winning roster in 2015, has been heckled and jeered throughout Australia’s successful campaign by Chinese fans angry with a barbed comment about national swimming hero Sun Yang.
There was more of the same in Nanjing, but Bogut is relishing it and has not been afraid to fan the flames with sarcastic tweets referring to his “Chinese fans.”
Bogut had the last laugh once more as the Boomers made it four wins out of four to close on a spot in the last eight.
But the Australians were pushed all the way by the Dominicans, who have defied expectations despite being the joint-shortest team at the 32-nation tournament.
Patty Mills, the San Antonio Spurs guard who has called this Australian team the country’s best ever, was once more central to the win, leading the way with 19 points. He also dished out nine assists.
Australia is hoping to finally break its unwanted record of never getting beyond the quarterfinals in 11 previous World Cup appearances.
Bogut, who had eight points and six assists, has been targeted in China after he tweeted in July: “Swimmers who medal vs Sun Yang should break the podiums with hammers.”
The tweet, which garnered thousands of interactions, was a cheeky reference to China’s triple Olympic champion missing a doping test after a vial of his blood was smashed with a hammer.
Sun was the subject of podium protests by some fellow swimmers — notably Australia’s Mack Horton — at the world championships in South Korea in July.
Czech Republic 93, Brazil 71
In Shenzhen, the Czech Republic routed Brazil to keep itself in the hunt for a spot in the quarterfinals, trouncing the previously unbeaten South Americans.
Tomas Satoransky scored 20 points for the Czechs (3-1), who will play Greece on Monday. Ondrej Balvin scored 15 and Patrik Auda added 14 for the winners.
Vitor Benite scored 12 for Brazil (3-1), which will face the United States on Monday in the second-round finale for both teams. Leandro Barbosa and Marcelinho Huertas each scored 11 for Brazil.
Venezuela (2-2) vs. Russia (2-2), Puerto Rico (2-2) vs. Italy (2-2), Poland (4-0) vs. Argentina (4-0), Spain (4-0) vs. Serbia (4-0).
Cote d’Ivoire (0-4) vs. South Korea (0-4), Tunisia (2-2) vs. Angola (1-3), China (2-2) vs. Nigeria (2-2), Iran (1-3) vs. Philippines (0-4)