11 Aug 2017

Tall Blacks march on in Asia Cup

11:12 am on 11 August 2017

The New Zealand men's basketball team have beaten Lebanon 86-82 to record their second straight win at the Asia Cup in Beirut.

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Photo: Photosport

Point guard Shea Ili led the scoring for the Tall Blacks with 22 points and four assists.

Captain Reuben Te Rangi had a strong game with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a critical steal in the dying moments.

The win follows their tournament opening 70-49 victory over Kazakhstan.

The average age of the Tall Black team is 23 and coach Paul Henare said he is very proud of the performance of his young team against the host nation and a vocal home crowd.

"This ranks right up there. Because of this team, their relative youth and the lack of experience in this group."

"I am extremely proud, obviously the result in an environment like that is huge, but the growth of this group in such a short time is amazing."

Henare said he was now looking ahead to the final pool match against Korea.

"Part of the message in the locker room was to celebrate this and enjoy the moment, but in less than 48 hours we play a very good Korean team."

"They shoot the ball well, they spread the floor, they are a different team, not as imposing as Lebanon but a very good team and a real challenge."

The Tall Blacks play Korea on Sunday morning.