Basketball: Tall Blacks fall to Macedonia

The New Zealand Tall Blacks have been beaten 68-67 68-67 by hosts Macedonia in the Macedonia Trophy basketball tournament in Skopje.

The Macedonians went to the first quarter break 24-20 ahead before the Tall Blacks came back to within one point in the second quarter 17-18 for a half time score of 42-37 to the home team.

However in the third quarter, the Tall Blacks were retained possession and were able to bring the scorelines level at 53-53 before going to the break 55-58 behind.

In the final stanza the Tall Blacks gained the lead 64-60 but the home side came back and with the score at 67-66 with 30 seconds on the clock BJ Anthony missed two free throws.

The Macedonians moved into the lead at 68-67 leaving Lindsay Tait to try and shoot a three-pointer from halfway to win the game, which was not successful.

Tall Blacks assistant coach Pero Cameron wasn't overly impressed with the last couple of minutes of the game and felt there was some home court advantage going the Macedonians way.

"It was a really tough game with a lot of energy from both teams.

"There were a couple of calls for the home team which could have gone either way I thought...you get that when you're away from home.

"We had a couple of turnovers at the end of the game which didn't help," he added.

Abercrombie top scored with 12 points followed by Tait on 11, including three successful three point shots from five attempts, while Kirk Penney and Corey Webster both had 10.

The Tall Blacks now travel to Istanbul for a four-nations tournament featuring Turkey along with Montenegro and Ukraine.

Scores: Macedonia 68 (Pero Antic 16) New Zealand 67 (Tom Abercrombie 12, Lindsay Tait 11, Kirk Penney 10, Corey Webster 10). Halftime: Macedonia 42 Tall Blacks 37.

- NZPA

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