Rio Olympics: Wildcats’ Damian Martin turns in efficient defensive performance as the men’s basketball team beats Venezuela

Venezuelan Gregory Vargas shoots as Damian Martin defends during the preliminary round game at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.
Venezuelan Gregory Vargas shoots as Damian Martin defends during the preliminary round game at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

PERTH Wildcats captain Damian Martin turned in a typically efficient performance to anchor the Boomers to an 81 – 56 win over Venezuela in Australia’s final Olympic group game.

With a second-place group finish already sealed, Boomers’ coach Andrej Lemanis elected to rest Patty Mills completely and Matthew Dellavedova did not play much more than the opening quarter.

That left Martin and former Perth Wildcats guard Kevin Lisch to carry the backcourt load.

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Melville resident Martin responded with four rebounds and four assists in close to 21 minutes of game time, the highlight of his offensive work a first quarter bullet pass to Chirs Goulding for an easy layup.

Defensively Martin was as busy as ever, although Venezuela was determined to control the tempo and use as much of the shot clock as possible for every possession – limiting Australia’s ability to generate turnovers.

The Venezuelan game plan, designed to limit Australia’s shooting attempts, worked up until half-time with the Boomers leading just 32 – 25 a the main break.

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In the third quarter the game opened up a little but Venezuela, the worst three-point shooting side in the competition, remained in touch by sinking four triples to enter the final term trailing 53 – 43.

It was one way traffic from there, with Venezuela forced to abandon its slowdown tactics in a bid to chase down the deficit and Australia taking advantage of its increased offensive looks to pour in 28 final term points.

Goulding led the scoring for the Boomers with 22 points, including four triples, while Joe Ingles (11) and Ryan Broekhoff (10) also had double digits.

Andrew Bogut also scored 10 points in nearly 18 minutes of court time after sitting out Australia’s win over China with a suspected knee complaint.

The lone negative from the heavy victory was an injury to Cameron Bairstow, who left the game clutching his arm midway through the third quarter and immediately headed for the locker room.