Ingles insanity as Boomers survive scare
Senegal came to play against the Boomers at the FIBA World Cup clash in Dongguan, China, with Australia running away for a 81-68 win.
With Lithuania also defeating Canada, Australia are through to the second round of the tournament with an important match against the Lithuanian's up next.
It was a lot closer than expected for the Boomers against the world number 35th team.
But Senegal rushed out to a 7-2 lead and took it to the Boomers throughout the first half, never letting Australia get away.
In front of a barely half full stadium, Senegal stunned the Boomers, who appeared ready to cruise.
Senegal were smashed 101-47 in their first match against Lithuania and it was assumed the Aussies were going to do the same.
Joe Ingles appeared to be chasing a huge win, just missing out on a triple double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Boomers back.
9 - Joe Ingles is only the third player to make 9+ assists in consecutive games in the #FIBAWC in the 21st century, after Pablo Prigioni and Petteri Koponen. Gifts.#FIBAWC2019 #AustraliaGotGame pic.twitter.com/l2Pyi3fcCg— OptaLarry🏀 (@OptaLarry) September 3, 2019
Joe Ingles will save us all— Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) September 3, 2019
He hit four from six from beyond the arc with Patty Mills' 22 points stunning Senegal, including 12 points in the third quarter.
Boomers legend Shane Heal highlighted a huge statistic which showed how the Boomers play.
"I'm not sure I've ever seen a game with 28 assists for 29 made field goals," Heal said.
"That is an incredible stat. Particularly with that many field goals but incredible stuff and reflects the unselfishness of this team and the versatility of this team as well. Different guys that can put points on the board but also create off the dribble, get a piece of the paint and open it up for their teammates. They're not relying on one man."
Throughout the game, it was not as confident from Heal.
The slow start left the legend begging for the Boomers to pick up their effort in future games.
"The Boomers are going to have to wake up, sloppy too," Gaze said midway through the first quarter.
"Just not looking as switched on as they were against the Canadians and that can sometimes happen in a tournament, even though they had a great win and then they come out against an opponent they're expected to wipe off the floor and just looking a step slow, not the same sort of communication and intensity they had against America back in Melbourne and against Canada in game one."
Fellow Boomers legend Andrew Gaze followed it up at halftime with a tweet referring to the 1986 Basketball World Cup, where Australia lost to Uruguay, Angola and the Soviet Union to be bundled out in the first round of the tournament.
The loss to Angola was the side's only win of the tournament, and the side had been thrashed throughout the remainder of the tournament.
I'm starting to get a cold sweat with flashbacks from the 1986 @FIBAWC ... Let's go Boomers!— Andrew Gaze (@AndrewGaze10) September 3, 2019
A loss would have meant Australia would have been in danger of a first round exit from the tournament but with Lithuania's 92-69 win over Canada, both sides will be into the next round.
With the points carrying over to the second round where Australia will need to play the Dominican Republic and France, a win against Lithuania would put the Boomers in a strong position to move forward to the quarterfinals.
Senegal had been demoralised against Lithuania in their tournament opener with a 54-point loss.
But the African nation put the pressure on the Aussies, who couldn't get away from Senegal.
Australia led 18-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Fans watching from Australia were floored by the turn around of both teams after the Boomers beat Canada 108-92 in their opening game.
Early turnovers and giving up offensive boards. Sigh. #FIBAWC— Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) September 3, 2019
Midway through the third quarter, Australia finally kicked away a little, getting out to a double-digit lead as the Boomers put the foot down.
At the end of the third quarter, Australia led 60-50 - still not out of the woods.
Senegal made it a five-point game again throughout the final quarter but the Boomers flexed when they needed to to claim the win.
It appears Australian assistant Luc Longley's warning of Senegal was warranted.
"They're very long, very athletic and we will basically be playing against very, very good athletes," the former Chicago Bulls title winner said. "To get all the way through this Cup we've got to beat Senegal and play against long, athletic teams, so it's a great progression.
"You can't replicate it … it's a challenge for our guys because we're not the most bouncy, athletic group in the world, or even the southern hemisphere.
"We can't overpower them; it's a puzzle for us to solve on our feet and hopefully we solve it well enough to progress."
Longley said Joe Ingles' duel with Maurice Ndour would be crucial in setting the tone.
"He's the kind of guy that can really hurt you - he's oversized, long, aggressive and he's Joe's match-up," he said.
Australia must "solve the puzzle" against Senegal if they are to move to 2-0 for just the third time in a combined 26 Olympic and basketball World Cup campaigns in China.
The Boomers' other 2-0 starts came at the Rio Olympics three years ago and Toronto's 1994 World Cup, where they finished fourth and fifth respectively.
- with AAP
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