The Aon New Zealand Under 17 Boys have fallen to China in their second game at the FIBA Under 16 Asian Championship, losing 83-47 on Wednesday.
China's length proved too much to handle for New Zealand as they weren't able to find the same success they displayed in Monday's victory over Hong Kong; perimeter shots were tough to come by and opportunities to score in the paint were a rarity.
New Zealand were held to just 33.9 per cent shooting from the field and 2-for-14 on 3-point attempts. China's length was not only a factor defensively, but it also contributed to a large deficit in rebounding (56-34).
Mitchell Dance followed up his solid outing against Hong Kong with another strong showing, scoring 14 points with eight rebounds for New Zealand. Tom Cowie added nine points and six rebounds. China's Haoqin Sun amassed 29 points to lead his team to victory.
New Zealand head coach Dave Bublitz said China's defence and general intensity made it difficult to score.
"The intensity and size of the opposition provided a real look at the upper level of international basketball," said Bublitz. "We let ourselves down early by being overly aggressive towards the rim and not concentrating on the importance of finishing.
"China defended incredibly well and made it tough for us to score. Their ball pressure frustrated our guards and gave them little time to run anything that resembled an offense.
"Adjusting to the intensity is something we will have to focus on moving forward," he said.
With the loss to China, New Zealand has placed second in Group A and will play Malaysia tonight at 10pm NZT. The winner of that game will advance to the quarter-final round which begins on Friday. The top four placed teams at the Asian Championship will qualify for the FIBA Under 17 World Cup in Argentina, starting June 30.
· The team roster: http://nz.basketball/News/aon-nz-u17-boys-named-as-fiba-draws-asia-cup
· See FIBA’s tournament website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/asia/u16/2017/news/draw-results-in-for-fiba-u16-asian-championship
· More basketball news at www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.