The Tall Blacks have notched their second win on tour, taking down Venezuela 72-65 at the Stankovic Cup in China tonight.
After beating Great Britain, the Tall Blacks had suffered close losses to both Croatia and Slovenia before putting in a solid stint against the South American side to come away with a deserved victory.
Although the contest was sloppy at times, a strong second half showing from Corey Webster brought Paul Henare's side home after what was a tight first three quarters.
Webster led all scorers with 22 points, shooting 5/10 from deep, including one 30 foot bomb and a leaning triple which sealed the contest in the dying stages.
Playing without Mika Vukona and Tom Abercrombie - both players nursing small niggles - the Tall Blacks shot out to a 12-0 lead on the back of treys from Reuben Te Rangi and Duane Bailey.
Venezuela - playing without NBA player Greivis Vasquez - came fighting back, playing good defence against a Tall Blacks back-up unit which had problems penetrating and ball-handling in the halfcourt.
Some hot shooting from deep from the South Americans gave them a 36-33 lead at halftime - the Tall Blacks scoring just 10 points in the quarter as they failed to capitalise upon 10 Venezuelan turnovers.
However, the Kiwis started to show their authority on the glass - ending with 38 rebounds to Venezuela's 26 - Isaac Fotu snaring 14 of them to go with his eight points on 3/11 shooting.
The game was tied at 50 going into the final quarter, but Webster went to work, helped out by Te Rangi's 13 points and eight from Everard Bartlett.
Despite 13 points from Jesus Centeno, 11 from Luis Lopez and 10 from Luis Valera, Venezuela could only hit two threes in the second half as the Tall Blacks starters showed their class.
The Tall Blacks now prepare to take on Mexico tomorrow night.