Tall Blacks coach Nenad Vucinic expected an improved Korean side for the second test but he probably didn't expect them to be this good.
After being hammered 102-69 in game one in Wellington on Tuesday, the Koreans adjusted well and upset the Tall Blacks 76-75 in Tauranga last night.
Korea, who were outmuscled on Tuesday, were ready for New Zealand's physical approach as they brought better defence to the contest tonight and produced a much-improved shooting performance.
Wellington Saints guard Corey Webster was busy all night for the Tall Blacks as he collected 20 points and it was his three-pointer that saw New Zealand take a 40-38 lead to halftime.
The Koreans, led by 21 points from Tae-jong Moon, hung around though and kept things tight during the third quarter as the Tall Blacks led 60-59.
When the scores were locked up at 66-all with four minutes remaining in the contest the game was set for a tense finish but the Koreans finished stronger.
Tall Blacks shooting guard Kirk Penney hit a shot with only seconds left in what he thought was a game-tying three-pointer but he had a toe on the line and it was correctly ruled as a two as the home side were forced to swallow the loss.
The series moves to Auckland for game three in Auckland on Saturday.
South Korea 76
Tall Blacks 75