The Junior Tall Blacks continued their build-up to next week's FIBA U19 basketball World Championship with a 77-71 loss to European runners-up Lithuania.
Against the taller Lithuanians, who arrived in New Zealand on Friday afternoon, the JTBs got a game-high 20 points from centre Rob Loe and 16 points from guard Brook Ruscoe, playing in front of his home crowd at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.
Lithuania, who were beaten by Greece 57-50 in the FIBA Europe U18 Championship last September, had four players score in double figures, with Orelik Gediminas top-scored with 16 points. Motiejunas Donata had 13 points, Redikas Dovydas 11 and Slezas Tautvydas 10 points.
New Zealand were up 35-27 midway through the second period but the Lithuanians answered with 13 straight points before New Zealand got back within a point at the half.
The game remained close throughout the third and early minutes of the fourth quarter, before Lithuania created a gap with four minutes remaining.