Basketball: Tall Blacks back in the saddle

Tall Blacks skipper Mika Vukona. Photo / Tim Cuff.
Tall Blacks skipper Mika Vukona. Photo / Tim Cuff.

A shootout against the Mississauga Power all-star side has allowed the Tall Blacks back in to the win column on their tour of China.

After falling to Cameroon on Friday night, the Kiwis were always in control against the Toronto-based pick-up combination, holding on for a 99-90 win at Zhongshan last night.

The Kiwis never trailed, with an early seven-point run, sparked by a three-pointer from Corey Webster, giving them a comfortable advantage. An identical outburst late in the opening quarter had the lead into double digits and the margin reached 17 points midway through the third quarter.

But the Power stayed in the contest with their long-range shooting - they landed 11 three-points, including five down the stretch - that saw them close within seven points in the closing moments.

New Zealand were 69-53 up with 10 minutes to play and the encounter disintegrated into a scoring spree, with Mississauga prevailing 37-33 for the quarter. That was more points than the Canadian outfit managed through the entire first half.

Several of the Tall Blacks enjoyed periods of dominance, with BJ Anthony rebounding from frustrating performances for 15 points, matched by skipper Mika Vukona. Anthony's three-point shooting has been a revelation on this trip - he slotted two more in this encounter.

Veteran Casey Frank held his team together to the finish for 14 points and the Kiwis shot 33/40 from the free-throw line, 15/21 in the final period.

New Zealand face local club Liaoning tonight (8.30pm NZT), before returning home to prepare for the Fiba Oceania Championship, beginning at North Shore Events Centre on August 14.

New Zealand 99 (BJ Anthony 15, Mika Vukona 15, Casey Frank 14, Corey Webster 14, Reuben Te Rangi 12, Jarrod Kenny 11, Jack Salt 7, Everard Bartlett 6, Jordan Ngatai 5) Missisauga Power 90

- APNZ

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