22 Aug 2011

Tall Blacks lose to hosts in Macedonia

9:47 am on 22 August 2011

The New Zealand men's team has been beaten 68-67 in a tight fought contest by the host nation in the Macedonia Trophy basketball tournament.

After falling narrowly to Montenegro the previous day the Tall Blacks continued their long quest for an Olympic place in 2012 with the aim of beating Australia next month in the Oceania series.

The goal of the build-up has been to work as a team and come up with plays for Australia, however assistant coach Pero Cameron says they still want wins from their games in Macedonia.

The home side went to the first quarter break 24-20 ahead and had a 42-37 half time lead.

However the Tall Blacks were stronger in the third period levelling the score before going to the break 55-58 behind.

In the final stanza the Tall Blacks fought tooth and nail to claim a one point lead at 67-66 with 30 seconds on the clock but couldn't convert from the free throw line allowing the Macedonians to retake the lead leaving Lindsay Tait to try and shoot a three pointer from halfway to win the game, the hail mary shot missing handing the home side the 68-67 victory.

Forward Tom Abercrombie top scored with 12 points followed by Tait on 11, while Kirk Penney and Corey Webster both had 10.

The Tall Blacks now travel to Istanbul for the Four Nations Tournament featuring Turkey, Montenegro and Ukraine which starts tomorrow.