The Boomers received a much-needed confidence boost ahead of the basketball World Cup after recording a 81-73 victory over Canada at Perth’s RAC Arena on Saturday night.
Australia was under pressure after suffering an unexpected 20-point thrashing at the hands of a third-string Canada outfit on Friday.
After starting sluggishly and trailing by 10 points in the third quarter, the Boomers exploded from three-point range through Philadelphia 76ers’ bench player Jonah Bolden.
In a drastic improvement from game one at the same venue, the Boomers nailed 12 of 31 attempts from beyond the arc too deep to pull away from a depleted, though gallant, Canada.
Jock Landale again was a top performer with a team-high 13 points, while an energetic Bolden weighed in with 12 points and five rebounds.
Canada was spearheaded by Khem Birch (18 points) and Oshae Brissett (14).
Encouragingly, Australia’s morale-boosting win was achieved by NBA stars Patty Mills (general soreness) and Andrew Bogut (rest).
Canada were also weakened without guard Kevin Pangos, who starred in game one with 18 points.
Australia were boosted by the inclusion of Phoenix Suns centre Aron Baynes – but the hosts struggled for much of the first half.
After a recording an abysmal six of 34 from three-point range on Friday, the Boomers again were wayward from long range, 10 of their first 11 attempts before heating up in the third quarter.
Much like in the opener, a cohesive Canada – marshalled by Toronto Raptors championship coach Nick Nurse – were potent from beyond the arc but faded against Australia’s physical defence.
Canada’s original squad of training camp invitees for the World Cup featured 17 NBA players but they have been decimated by withdrawals from their big guns and Birch was their lone NBA player in Perth.
Sacramento Kings guard Cory Joseph might link up with the squad in time for the World Cup, but doubts are growing as to whether he will turn up.
The Boomers now travel to Melbourne for games against the USA next Thursday and Saturday before they head to China, where they meet Canada again in their opening group match on September 1.