There were mixed results for the European, Australian and American college based Tall Blacks last week.
Tai Webster led Nebraka’s scoring with 19 points but the Huskers suffered their third single digit defeat of the season going down 70-69 in overtime to No7 Wisconsin on Friday.
Webster, who also led his team in assists with 5 in that category, “Played his butt off” according to coach Tim Miles.
Jack Salt scored 4 points including a tip back going into half-time as Virginia, ranked No 9 in the country beat No 4 Louisville 71-55 on Wednesday. Salt’s play pleased teammate London Perrantes and helped set up a dominant second half display.
“It gave us a lot of energy. We were down by two going into the half and that was what we need from him. We need energy, we need those offensive rebounds, we need his blocks. Everything we get from him is huge, but obviously, there was a lot of energy from that moment.” Salt added 6 rebounds for good measure.
Things didn’t go to plan for Salt or his team on Sunday beaten 80-78 in double overtime by rivals Virginia State. Salt logged 4 fouls in just 14 minutes managing 2 points and 4 rebounds in that time.
The Sacramento State Hornets had a significant double over the weekend. On Friday they knocked off Big Sky Conference leaders Weber State 77-74 and followed this with a 75-63 win against Idaho State on Sunday. Izayah Le’Afa played a solid hand contributing 3 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a game high 3 steals against Weber State and 10 points against Idaho as the Hornets improve to 6-6 in conference play.
In Spain Zaragoza was thumped 100-67 at Valencia and drop to 13th (7-13) on the Spanish League table. Isaac Fotu played a team high 31 minutes and scored 10 points but it must have been hard going in a fixture totally dominated by fourth placed Valencia.
Also in Spain Sammic ISB slip to second on the LEB Silver ladder after losing 79-70 at Cambados. Forward Mike Karena played a strong hand for Sammic snaring 6 rebounds as well as scoring 16 points
Junior Tall Blacks
The Junior Tall Blacks have been drawn alongside European champions France, third placed Asian qualifier Korea and a yet to be announced fourth team from the Americas at the FIBA U19 World Cup.
The 16 teams event will be held in Cairo, Egypt from July 1st-9th.
New Zealand qualified for the event following their stunning success at the Oceania Champs in Fiji in December where the JTB’s knocked off favourites Australia 57-51 in the final.
Group A – Americas TBA, NZ, Korea, France
Group B – Germany, Egypt, Puerto Rico, Lithuania
Group C – Canada, Japan, Spain, Mali
Group D – Iran, Angola, Italy, USA
Jarrod Kenny will be the sole Kiwi representative in Australian NBL play-off basketball. The Tall Blacks guard played an important part in Perth’s two victories over the weekend. In the pivotal game on Sunday Kenny scored 8 points, including a couple of long threes, as Perth accounted for Melbourne 96-94 and in the process eliminated the Breakers.
Neither Reuben Te Rangi or Dion Prewster, the two other Kiwis with Australian clubs, will be in play-off action as Brisbane (8th) and Sydney failed to finish in the top four. Prewster, in what has been a disappointing season for the Nelson Giants bound guard, scored two points, as Sydney Kings were defeated 101- 74 in Perth.
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Te Rangi managed 4 points, a rebound and three assists but the injury ravaged Bullets were no match for Illawarra Hawks going down 106-79. Te Rangi will now return to NZ and link up with the Southland Sharks.