Nick Kay made a strong impression in his Olympic debut as Australia overcame Nigeria in a messy 84-67 win to begin their quest for a maiden basketball medal in Tokyo.
The Tamworth product saw the third most minutes behind Patty Mills and Joe Ingles and finished with a second-top 12 points, including the last two baskets of the game, and eight rebounds.
Mills led the side with 25 points on five-of-eight three point shooting as the Boomers kept Nigeria to 25 points in the second half.
The Boomers forced 24 turnovers and constantly threatened to sneak away, only for Nigeria to rally and make it a nervy five-point game at the final break.
A costly unsportsmanlike foul by Chimezie Metu on Matthew Dellavedova was pivotal.
Metu also given a technical foul for remonstrating in what became a four-point play that saw the forward ejected.
Mills nailed another three-pointer soon after as the lead swelled into double digits for the first time.
The Boomers have finished fourth at the last World Cup and Olympics and arrive in Japan fresh off wins over Argentina, Nigeria and the red-hot gold medal favourites the United States to prove they are legitimate prospects.
Coach Brian Goorjian used all 12 players, fit-again Dante Exum (11 points, five rebounds, three assist) offering energy, while Matisse Thybulle (nine points, four rebounds, five steals) and Josh Green were defensive pests.
They next face Italy on Wednesday and Germany on Saturday, with the top two sides from each pool progressing to a knockout quarter-final.
Australian Associated Press