The Boomers have marked their first home appearance since their historic Olympic basketball bronze medal by defeating China 76-69 in Thursday night's FIBA World Cup qualifier.
Playing the first of three matches to take place at Melbourne's John Cain Arena during the third Asian qualifying window, the new-look Boomers withstood a surging finish from China to remain the only unbeaten team in Group B, with a 4-0 record.
Australia appeared to be cruising to victory after building a 16-point advantage in the third stanza.
But, behind a monster performance from towering centre Zhou Qi (16 points, 17 rebounds), China roared back to level the scores early in the fourth quarter and set up a tight finish.
The big-game experience of newly-anointed captain Matthew Dellavedova (16 points, seven rebounds, four assists) came to the fore as he helped Australia navigate a tense final period.
Coach Brian Goorjian heaped praise on Dellavedova in his post-match press conference after the 31-year-old ex-NBA player had a leading role in helping the squad win despite six new faces and a limited preparation.
"The guy next to me just makes it all go.. just his leadership, what he does on and off the floor, all those little things," Goorjian said.
"Being a young group, in short time, I'm just leaning on him every minute of the day and he's just a pro. And tonight he was outstanding so really happy for him, happy for the group."
The lone holdover from the Boomers' successful Tokyo campaign, Dellavedova took a lot of confidence into the match despite the team's lack of exposure at international level.
"I think I said to Goorj after the second day that I feel like we've got enough in that we could play a game and I thought tonight we executed while the intensity was there," he said.
Everyone was involved ... the buy in and excitement, you can feel it from everyone involved and it was just a lot of fun."
China enjoyed a 43-29 rebounding advantage thanks to the presence of Qi, the 216cm centre who plays for the NBL's South East Melbourne Phoenix, but Australia's tough defence forced China to commit 18 turnovers.
Celebrating his 30th birthday, guard Mitch McCarron made all five of his shot attempts to finish with 13 points along with a game-high six steals while Jack McVeigh provided great energy off the bench to add 11 points.
The Boomers are back on court tomorrow night when they face Japan before returning on Sunday night for a second clash with China to close out the series.