7 Jul 2009

Junior Tall Blacks win first game

7:46 am on 7 July 2009

New Zealand's won its first ever basketball game at a FIBA under-19 tournament, with the Junior Tall Blacks beating Syria 93-75 at the world championships in Auckland.

A powerful all-round performance from centre Rob Loe led New Zealand to the historic win, Loe finishing with a game-high 25 points in the 13th-16th classification game at ASB Stadium.

The 2.11-metre centre - that's six foot 11 in the old measurements - was a dominant figure, shooting seven out of 10 from the field, including three from four from long-range, along with nine rebounds, four steals, four assists and two blocks.

The win was New Zealand's first at a FIBA world championship since the Tall Blacks defeated Panama in group play at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan and first at a FIBA age-group tournament since New Zealand beat China for 11th place at the 1997 FIBA under-23 world championships in Australia.

The Junior Tall Blacks took over the game in the final five minutes of the third period, scoring 16 straight points to turn a 10-point game into a 26-point margin with a quarter to run.

They now play Angola in the play-off for 13th today, after the Africans beat Iran 62-53.

Tip-off's at half past one at ASB Stadium.