A final quarter fade cost the New Zealand men's basketballers in their first of eight European tour games in 12 days against Estonia.
The hosts beat the Tall Blacks 58-49 in the Estonian capital of Tallinn but there were encouraging signs according to the now-senior player, shooting guard Kirk Penney.
Penney scored a game-high 23 points and says New Zealand could've won the game as they led by two points going into the final stretch after winning the third quarter by 10, but went cold in the final 15 minutes as Estonia dominated.
He says the defensive lapses and lack of offensive combinations are to be expected from a new team as the Tall Blacks look to blood new players and build experience.
New Zealand had three debutants in 17-year-old big Rob Loe, NBL rookie of the year Tom Abercrombie and point guard Jarrod Kenny all getting game time. Loe, the Junior Tall Blacks' star at the recent under-20 world champs in Auckland, had four points, three rebounds and a steal in his 17 minutes.