Six days after the Tall Blacks beat China in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers the New Zealand U17 Men replicated that achievement with a 62-57 win against China at the Fiba U17 World Cup in Argentina.
Mitch Dance backed up his 30 points haul the previous day against Serbia with 23 points in this one – his Rosmini College teammate Marvin Williams-Dunn was also in good form scoring 17 points including 4 from 5 from beyond the arc.
There were also key contributions from Anzac Rissetto (8 points) and Shalom Broughton (5 points). The pair also combined for 17 rebounds to ensured the Kiwis gained parity on the glass.
The Kiwis jumped out to a 17-8 first quarter lead and in fact led 17-4 at one stage after Dance and Williams-Dunn (twice) knocked down triples.
Another 10-0 run stunned the Chinese as they found themselves 27-8 down early in the second period – Kainoa Lepou and Anzac Rissetto adding to a third triple from Williams-Dunn.
China found their scoring touch as half-tine approached but the Kiwis were still in the ascendancy at the break leading 35-25.
The third quarter was shaded by China but the Kiwis remained 51-43 to the good at three-quarter time.
After China scored the first eight points of the final period to tie proceedings the game became a battle of nerves.
To their credit NZ held theirs even though they could never stretch their lead beyond five points after Williams-Dunn made it 56-51 with 6:30 to play.
The Kiwis went four minutes without scoring but China weren’t hitting shots either – Shalom Broughton made it 59-54 with 2:30 left after an And-1 play.
China made a triple and once again it was a one possession game – Dance and Rissetto missed a pair of free throws each to heighten the tension but the former made one soon after to give the Kiwis a 60-57 lead inside the last 30 seconds –Broughton sealing the deal in the dying seconds for a memorable win.
New Zealand will play-off for places 13-14 on the final day of competition tomorrow.
NZ 62 – M Dance 23/7r, M Williams-Dunn 17, A Rissetto 8/8r, S Broughton 5/9r, K Lepou 5, H Dixon 2, E Vaigafa 2