The Tall Blacks have blitzed Jordan tonight, claiming an important 100-72 win at Auckland’s Eventfinda Stadium in their last home game for 2022.
After racing out to a 29-10 first quarter lead, the Kiwis controlled and game thanks to their superior rebounding and outside shooting. In the process, they moved one step closer to securing a spot in the 2023 FIBA World Cup; with a win by the Philippines over Saudi Arabia tomorrow morning, guaranteeing New Zealand a spot in this pinnacle basketball event.
Shea Ili led the Tall Blacks with a solid 16 points, 5 rebounds & 5 assists, and was ably supported by a pair of youngsters in Ben Gold (15 points and 8 rebounds) and Flynn Cameron (13 points & 6 assists). Ethan Rusbatch and Reuben Te Rangi also chipped in with 14 and 11 points respectively.
Dar Tucker led Jordan with 19 points & 12 rebounds, while Amin Abu Hawwas also scored 19 and Hashem Abbaas had 15.
After an opening triple by Tucker on the first possession, the Kiwis scored the next 5 points to establish an early 5-3 lead. After Ili made his second straight shot from downtown to make it 8-5, the Tall Blacks wouldn’t relinquish the lead for the rest of the game – as they embarked on a 21-5 run to balloon the margin out to 19 points after the first period. The Kiwis shot a blistering 6-7 from downtown in the quarter, led by Ili’s 8 points.
The run continued in the second, thanks to a triple from Gold and layup by Cameron to help build a 41-15 lead three minutes into the quarter. But the Kiwi’s shooting cooled down soon after; the Tall Blacks held scoreless for a three minute stretch before a layup from Ili put them back on track. Jordan outscored New Zealand 24-23 in the period – thanks in part to 5 straight points from Tucker – to reduce the deficit to 18 leading into the second half.
The stats from the half showed absolute dominance by New Zealand over Jordan in both the shooting (49% vs 36%) and rebounding (27 to 19) categories; Tucker leading all scores with 12 points while Ili had 10.
New Zealand come out strong to open the third quarter, going on a 10-2 run to re-build a 23 point lead over Jordan. Te Rangi was the star with his 8 points in the period, including a pair of threes to give New Zealand a 76-51 lead heading into the final frame.
It was the youngsters turn to step up in the fourth, led by Cameron – who scored 9 of his 13 points in the quarter, including an impressive dunk off an offensive rebound – and a pair of buckets from 19 year old Ben Gold.
With their 100–72 win, the Tall Blacks put on arguably their best shooting display of the year; hitting 16 threes at a 46% clip, including 4 triples from Rusbatch in another great performance. New Zealand also dominated the boards 54 to 38, including 20 offensive rebounds which led to 24 second chance points.
Two facets of the game that the Kiwis will look to improve; their free throw shooting (14/23 at a 61% clip) and their turnovers – the latter a result of 11 steals from Jordan on the night.
New Zealand 100 – Ili 16 PTS & 5 AST & 5 REB | Gold 15 PTS & 8 REB | Rusbatch 14 PTS | Flynn 13 PTS & 6 AST | Te Rangi 11 PTS | McCullough 8 PTS | Fotu 7 PTS & 8 REB | Loe 9 PTS & 6 REB | Smith-Milner 5 PTS | Timmins 2 PTS & 5 REB
Jordan 72 – Tucker 19 PTS & 12 REB | Amin Abu Hawwas 19 PTS | Hashem Abbaas 15 PTS
Quarter scores: 29-10, 52-34, 76-51, 100-72.
Full box score: https://tinyurl.com/mr3rvsxt