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Tall Blacks win thriller

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August 9, 2014

The Tall Blacks have come through their toughest assignment so far while on tour in China, defeating Cameroon 85-83 in a game that went to the final buzzer.

After being in control throughout and leading by 9 at the end of the first and second quarters and 15 at the third quarter break, New Zealand dried up on offence and found themselves behind inside the final minute before nailing the win.

Kirk Penney led all scorers with 25 (5/9 three point shots) while Tom Abercrombie (15 on 5/6 shooting) and Corey Webster (13) both had productive nights in a wide ranging effort across the rest of the roster.

Mika Vukona, Casey Frank and Nick Horvath led a strong rebounding effort with 8 boards apiece as the Tall Blacks out muscled Cameroon 42-24 in that department.

Free throw shooting was an issue for the Tall Blacks in a physical encounter though, going at just 60% (21/35) which did not help their cause in the final quarter as the game tightened up.

Once again minutes were shared across the 12 players with Kirk Penney (23) and Corey Webster (21) the only players to clock up in excess of 20 minutes of court time.

Nick Horvath played his second game since returning from a back injury and was strong on the boards, albeit his lungs are catching up a little after a few weeks on the sidelines.

“We did a good job against African team on the boards, they are a physical team, and we did well in that area. Each game is a learning experience, that is really good, the strength of our team. There are some specific things we are working on but these are things we are having to do as we head towards Spain.

“We are playing four of the great teams of Europe with Lithuania, Serbia, Greece, and Slovenia. They will be a much bigger challenge but we are really looking forward to seeing how we stack up with our execution against some of the best players in the world, we are looking forward to it. The will be extremely well drilled, they have some of the best players in Europe and some NBA Players on their rosters so their execution will be another level up.

“Physically I am at 100% in regards to the injuries and the rest of the body feels great but it is getting legs and lungs back and trying to get back into physical shape. The second game back felt much better but it just feels great to be back out there and contributing to this team.”

Tall Blacks 85
Penney 25, Abercrombie 15, Webster 13
Cameroon 83
Harding 17, Gaston 16