- Melbourne, Australia • It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience.
Team USA hadn’t lost a competitive senior game since 2006, in the semis of the FIBA World Championship. Australia hadn’t ever defeated the US in a senior game, having lost 25 times in a row.
But in front of 52,000 chanting and cheering fans in a packed Aussie-rules football stadium, the Boomers pulled off a stunning 98-94 upset of Team USA, making exactly clear how much more work this weakened version of the American squad has left before the World Cup begins next week.
The Australians’ full 40-minute performance started with Jazzman Joe Ingles in control, looking like the best player on the floor in the game’s first half. Time and time again, the Aussies ran middle pick-and-roll with Ingles and either Andrew Bogut or Aron Baynes setting the screens, and time and time again, Ingles made the right read, either driving to the rim or finding the open man. After looking a little out of the game in Thursday’s USA win, Ingles was the driving force early Saturday.
“He was more impactful, and a lot of it was how the way we chose to utilize him,” Australia head coach Andrej Lamanis said. “He’s a quality player with the ball, makes good decisions, and we need to ensure we’re using all of the pieces at our disposal.”
A third-quarter USA run looked like it would lead to a repeat of …