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Third quarter meltdown proves costly for Tall Blacks

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

One quarter proved costly for the MBO Tall Blacks as they pushed world number three France for the majority of the game, in the end ruing a sloppy third quarter that saw France pile on an 18-point lead after being behind by one at the half.

It was the only quarter won by the French, but in the end that 32-point explosion and the 13 scored by the Tall Blacks proved the difference in a 95-81 defeat for the New Zealanders in Shenyang, as both teams got their Four Nations tournament underway.

Assistant Coach Pero Cameron felt it was an opportunity they let slip away.

"We are disappointed with the result and the way we played, in particular we switched off in the third quarter and allowed them too many easy points and let the game slip away, especially late in the quarter with some silly turnovers and soft baskets.

"Credit to the French though, they are a world-class team and hurt us in those moments, but we have to be better and learn from this heading into the World Cup."

The Tall Blacks went toe to toe with the French and with just over a minute left in the first half, held a lead of eight points, but in a portent of things to come, they turned the ball over in successive possessions and allowed the French to close out the half strongly and close to within one point.

With Rob Loe and Shea Ili both sitting the game out with minor injuries, Coach Henare was left with a ten-man rotation and the need to share the minutes with this the first of three games in three days.

On a rare quiet night for the Webster brothers with Tai picking up four points and Corey 11, and with all of Isaac Fotu’s eight points coming in the final quarter, it was left to the likes of Tohi Smith-Milner (11), Ethan Rusbatch (10) and Jordan Ngatai (9) to lead the offence, with Tom Abercrombie (10) also chipping in.

After their overtime defeat to Canada, the Tall Blacks again showed they can compete with the best in the world, with the next step being to take that level of performance throughout all four quarters. Their job does not get any easier however, facing world number four Serbia in Anshan tonight (Sunday 25 August), with the morning spent making the 90-minute journey from Shenyang.

Final Score:

MBO Tall Blacks 81 (C Webster 11, Smith-Milner 11, Rusbatch 10, Abercrombie 10)

France 95


Tall Blacks v Serbia

Anshan, China

Sunday 25 August

7:30pm tip off (11:30pm NZT)

Watch Live on Sky Sport 9 (coverage likely to start from 11:20pm).

Tall Blacks v Italy

Anshan, China

Monday 26 August

7:30pm tip off (11:30pm NZT)

Watch Live on Sky Sport 9 (coverage likely to start from 11:20pm).

MBO Tall Blacks, FIBA World Cup Roster:

Guards: Shea Ili, Wellington Saints/Melbourne United; Jarrod Kenny, Bay Hawk’s/Cairns Taipans; Tai Webster, Galatasaray; Corey Webster, NZ Breakers; Ethan Rusbatch, Bay Hawks;

Small Forwards: Tom Abercrombie, Wellington Saints/NZ Breakers; Jordan Ngatai, Wellington Saints/NZ Breakers;

Power Forwards: Isaac Fotu, Universo Treviso; Finn Delany, Nelson Giants/NZ Breakers;

Centres: Alex Pledger, Southland Sharks/Melbourne United; Rob Loe, Wellington Saints/NZ Breakers; Tohi Smith-Milner, Melbourne United.

Head Coach: Paul Henare

Assistant Coach: Pero Cameron

Assistant Coach: Ross McMains

Physiotherapist: Anousith Bouaaphone

Massage Therapist: Shelley Moana-Hiha

Doctor: Hamish Osborne

Manager: Andrew Dewhurst

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