5 Jul 2009

Cold final quaerter sees NZ bow out to Kazakhs

7:51 am on 5 July 2009

A fourth quarter slump has sunk the Junior Tall Blacks out of the FIBA under 19 world basketball championships in Auckland.

New Zealand led by seven points with a quarter remaining and looked on their way to the second round before Kazakhstan shot their way to a 90-83 win at the North Shore Events Centre.

The central Asians lived by the three and thrived by the three. With Anton Arsenyev and Alexandr Tyutyunik leading the way, Kazakhstan hit nine of 17 three-point shots and sank 59 percent from the field, dropping the Kiwis to 0-3 and into the 13th-16th classification round.

Big New Zealand forward Rob Loe was disappointed. He says it's a four-quarter game and they didn't play well in the fourth quarter. He says their defence let them down as they aim to keep teams to under 70 points and then gave up 90 points

New Zealand led 67-60 with a period to run but stalled to start the fourth, scoring only two points in the first three minutes. The Kazakhs went on a 12-2 run to take a 72-69 lead with 7:14 remaining, including a pair of triples from Arsenyev, a lead they never relinquished.

The Juniors lost to Argentina in their opening match then to Croatia, although the first loss was by two points and the second seven.