MELBOURNE, AUS - AUGUST 22: Joe Ingles #7 of the Australian Boomers shoots the ball against Team USA on August 22, 2019 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Team USA gets a 102-86 win over Australia, as Mitchell and Ingles face off in front of 51,000 fans in Melbourne

by Aaron Falk

Donovan Mitchell and Team USA came out on top of their first test Down Under, notching a 102-86 victory over Australia in Thursday’s exhibition game in Melbourne.

Point guard Kemba Walker led the U.S. with 23 points. Center Myles Turner had 15 points and 14 rebounds. Mitchell added 13 on 6-of-15 shooting and was a plus-24 in 25 minutes of action.

U.S. coach Gregg Popovich has said he believes the Aussies have a legitimate chance to win this summer’s World Cup in China, and the Boomers showed their toughness on Thursday. Australia had a 45-44 lead early in the second half before Team USA took control.

“I think we’re feeling pretty good about the way we bounced back in the second half,” Mitchell said afterward. “It shows the character of this team. We’re playing in front of [51,000] people. There’s going to be some nerves … but once we settled down and started playing our basketball, we were in good shape.”

Jazz forward Joe Ingles had six points, five rebounds and an assist for the Boomers. There were bragging rights on the line for Ingles and Mitchell Thursday, and that meant some friendly trash talk between the Jazzmen.

"He tried a little bit," Mitchell said. "He tried hitting me and nudging me, but I got him once. I got him with a little slap. It’s all fun and it’s all part of it. This is a blessing to be here and be part of this. It’s been incredible."

But the chance to play in a basketball showcase in front of more than 51,000 fans in Melbourne was particularly special for Ingles.

“To be in front of friends and family and you on the sideline, it’s going to be a great night,” he said while being interviewed by his wife, Renae Ingles, on the broadcast leading up to tipoff. “To have everyone here, 50,000 people at home, playing against a really good team, it’s something we’ve dreamed of.”

Team USA and Australia will meet up again this week for another exhibition game in Melbourne (Friday, 10 p.m. MT on NBA TV).

“Being able to handle their pressure,” Mitchell said when asked how the U.S. can improve in the second contest. “They’re a great basketball team. They run their sets very well. They’ve been playing with each other since they were 16, 17 years old. For us, it’s matching that energy, matching that chemistry and being a more collective team.”

Watch USAB vs. Australia -- August 22 at 5:30am ET from NBA on www.twitch.tv

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