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Africans no match for NZ

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August 9, 2014

The Tall Blacks have demolished Ivory Coast 97-63 to end an emphatic 6 game unbeaten run on the China leg of their FIBA World Cup preparation tour.

Ahead from the start the Tall Blacks tonight rammed home that advantage and did not allow the African team to come back into the contest as Cameroon did last night.
Kirk Penney continues to find his shooting range with 27 points and again was well supported by Corey Webster (20) and BJ Anthony (14) and Tom Abercrombie (12) as the New Zealanders found their rhythm on offence.

Head coach Nenad Vucinic was pleased with the effort against and took the chance to try different things throughout the game.

“They gave up early and we got the lead up to 30 points, but they have two big centres and we looked at ways of countering that sort of size, we did a good job of that, it was a good chance for us to do some technical things. Right from the start we were double teaming and defending on-ball screens, for a start we were rusty in those things and we managed to get better and better, we made them look much worse than they really are. We did a good job defensively, they are not a bad team with two guys close to seven foot tall but we countered that height expertly.”

Vucinic got good minutes from his naturalized Americans, only one of whom can make the final roster of 12 for Spain and are locked in an enthralling duel that will continue now in Europe.

“Both Nick and Casey played 15 to 20 minutes, both played well and both bring different things for us. We are working combinations, it is going to be a difficult decision, and we will think carefully and see how we go against top teams in the world.”

The team now heads to Europe for games in Lithuania next week and they will play Greece, Slovenia and Serbia in the lead up to Spain.

“We expect it to be as tough as it can for the next five games, which will be good for us, we will focus on ourselves and build into the next five games and play the best basketball that we can. These games are crucial, we always go for the hardest possible schedule we can get, we are never afraid of losing in the pre-tournament schedule. We want to go and play the best teams in the world and that is what we will do. We hope that by game five against Serbia in front of a loud home crowd it will be the best preparation for us.”

Tall Blacks 97
Points: Penney 27, C Webster 20, Anthony 14, Abercrombie 12
Rebounds: Horvath 10, Vukona 8, Anthony 5
Ivory Coast 63
Konats 23, Bah 11