Basketball: Turkey topple Tall Blacks

Kirk Penney scored 16 points for the Tall Blacks. Photo / Getty Images
Kirk Penney scored 16 points for the Tall Blacks. Photo / Getty Images

The Tall Blacks have come close to causing a major upset after pushing Turkey, last year's world championship runners-up, to the wire in their Adidas Cup game in Istanbul this morning.

New Zealand were in touch throughout the match, and the scores were locked up 62-62 with two minutes remaining, before the Turks nudged in the final stages to win 70-64. A crucial three-point play tipped the game Turkey's way.

We got ourselves in a great position down the stretch, but lost a little bit of composure, but this is a world power team we were up against, they've got three NBA players including the guy who was No3 pick on the draft,'' said Tall Blacks assistant coach Chris Tupu.

"There were a lot of positives and encouragement to come out of the game, but the guys should still be angry. We've got to be able to close games out - 20 turnovers is too many at this level.

"We battled well, but each individual has to be accountable and make sure we make those steps up a level for each game.''

Kirk Penney top scored for the Tall Blacks with 16 points, including four three-pointers, while Mika Vukona scored 13 and Corey Webster eight points. Mark Dickel gained some court time and grabbed five assists.

Enes Kanter, the No 3 draft pick in the NBA for the Utah Jazz, scored 14 points for Turkey.
The Tall Blacks will now take on the Ukraine tomorrow morning before returning home for a training camp and then the three-game series against Australia early next month for a place in the London Olympics.

Turkey 70 (Enes Kanter 14, Kerem Tunceri 12) New Zealand 64 (Kirk Penney 16, Mika Vukona 13, Corey Webster 8)

- APNZ

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