Brazil are ranked number 14 in the world and the Boomers, themselves ranked 11th, needed to use tough defence and a strong team game to overcome the South Americans’ trio of NBA superstars in Anderson Varejao (Cleveland Cavaliers), Leandro Barbosa (Phoenix Suns) and Tiago Splitter (San Antonio Spurs).
Patrick Mills led the Boomers in scoring with 15 points and added three assists and three rebounds. Joe Ingles also had 14 points for Australia. Matt Nielsen and David Andersen each added 10 points, with Andersen also racking up seven rebounds. Brad Newley also contributed well with seven points and seven rebounds.
Marcello Huertas had a game-high 17 points for the Brazilians, while Barbosa had 15 and Splitter nine.
Boomers head coach Brett Brown was pleased with the tough first-up win after his team’s gruelling trip to Europe.
“I thought the last five minutes we played excellent team defence, and we needed to against a team with three NBA players like Brazil,” said Brown. “The game started very physical and we fatigued early after the long flight. But we got our second wind and legs back and our entire team deserves credit."
“I was really pleased that we played everybody, and everybody contributed. The group showed fantastic team spirit and the camaraderie was exceptional. We executed well down the stretch to close the game out."
In a close game, Brazil led early on and took a 16-10 lead into the first break.
Australia clawed the deficit back to four points by half time and went into the locker room down, 26-22.
The third quarter saw honours shared, as both teams scored 21 points to give Brazil a narrow four-point lead at the final change, 47-43.
Midway through the final period, scores were tied at 49-49 before Australia used their defensive pressure to outscore Brazil 12-3 over the next two minutes and take a 61-52 edge with 3:00 to play.
The Brazilians mounted a furious charge at the Australians but five points from Andersen, and some steady work at the line from the Boomers sealed the win.
The match was the first of three games for the Boomers in Lyon against a trio of world championship competitors in what is their last tournament before travelling to Turkey for the world titles.
Australia’s next game is against host nation France on Monday at 8:30PM French time (4:30AM Tuesday morning in Australia).
The Boomers will then wrap up their pre-world championship preparation with a game against Cote d’Ivoire at 6:00PM on Tuesday (4:00AM Wednesday morning Australian time.)
The 2010 FIBA World Championships will be held in Turkey from 28 August to 12 September, and will be broadcast in Australia live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.
Australia has been drawn in Group A for the 2010 FIBA World Championships and will open their quest for gold with a clash against Jordan on 28 August. They then face Argentina (29 August), Germany (30 August), Serbia (1 September) and Angola (September 2). All of the Boomers’ five preliminary round games will be held in the Turkish city of Kayseri.
Villeurbanne International Tournament (Lyon, France)
Australia 72 (Mills 15, Ingles 14, Andersen 10, Nielsen 10)
Brazil 69 (Huertas 17, Barbosa 15, Splitter 9).