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Australia enthrones Canada to win men's wheelchair basketball gold
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08:40, September 17, 2008

Australia won the Paralympics men's wheelchair basketball title for the first time in 12 years by defeating defending champion Canada 72-60 at the National Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

Down by four points at halftime, Australia maintained a dominant offence in the third and fourth quarters to pull ahead.

Australia, silver medallists four years ago, padded their lead in the last minute by hitting five free throws and a layup.

Center Troy Sachs was the top scorer for Australia with 19 points. Teammates Justin Eveson and Shaun Norris combined for 33 points, and center Brad Ness had a game-high eight assists.

"We played 40 minutes together. Name a player on the team, and they were all outstanding," said Australian coach Benjamin James Ettridge.

"We are bringing home a gold for the honey badgers (their team mascot)."

Canada could not match Australia's scoring pace in the last quarter and missed several shots. Forward Patrick Anderson was the game's highest scorer with 22 points. Anderson and center Joey Johnson grabbed the most rebounds of the game in 12 each.

Anderson scored 10 points of Canada's 13 in the last quarter and the only other field goal came from his assist, one of his six assists.

Other players in Canada's team just failed to score for the defending champions, who ended Paralympics with the first loss at the Beijing 2008 tournament.

"Emotionally, they just out-pushed us and had more heart than we did from the get-go," said Anderson, who expected for the third consecutive Paralympic victory here after lifting titles in Sydney and Athens.

"I don't want to make excuses, but we never had a semifinal before like that and had to play a final afterwards. They (Australians) played with a lot of heart, and we should have been able to summon a little more guts than that," he added.

"We have checked everything off the list. It's a disappointing way to go out, but Australia has put in a lot of time, and maybe it was their time.

"It's a new feeling. I haven't ended a tournament on a losing note before, it's always been a gold or a bronze. It's disappointing, and I feel badly for some of the guys, but at the same time I feel good about the accomplishments we've had over the years."

In the bronze medal match, Britain repeated their third-place finish from Athens 2004 by defeating the United States 85-77.

Source: Xinhua

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