Scotland will face favourites Australia for a place in the men’s basketball final at the Commonwealth Games after holding off Nigeria 66-61 in Cairns to reach the last four.

Gareth Murray grabbed a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds as Rob Beveridge’s men pulled away with a 9-0 run early in the fourth quarter to keep up their surprise unbeaten run.

“It was one of the most emotional games of my career,” Beveridge revealed. “To see what we’ve achieved when hardly anyone thought this could happen. I had belief in the whole team but that’s not enough – it’s about putting words into action. And even when we had a few dumb plays in the third quarter, the guys dug deep and started going again.”

12 unanswered points in the second period had put the Scots as much as 35-21 ahead before Nigeria cut the gap to 12 at half-time.

But despite a game-best 24 points and 15 rebounds from ex-NBA forward Ike Diogu, the pre-tournament outsiders held their nerve to shoot over 51% and tee up a showpiece semi against the hosts and hot favourites on Saturday morning.

And Beveridge, the assistant coach for the Boomers when they landed gold at the 2006 Games in Melbourne, admits it will be huge to square off against his old mates in Gold Coast this weekend with Canada meeting New Zealand in the other side of the draw.

“I’ve coached 11 of the 12 on the Australian team so I guess I’ll be doing the scouting report,” he said. “It’s amazing to face them but obviously we know how difficult it’s going to be.”

England’s women beat Jamaica 62-40 to make the last four. But England’s men crashed out, losing 97-79 to Canada despite 22 points from Adam Thoseby. 


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