|11||R. AKL||Did not play|
|15||F. EL KHATIB*||32||5/10||50||5/8||62.5||0/2||0||8/9||88.9||4||3||7||1||1||3||0||1||18|
|Min||Minutes played||Tot||Total rebounds||BS||Block Shots|
|%||Shooting percentage||PF||Personal fouls||*||Starters|
IZMIR (FIBA World Championship) – New Zealand’s emerging stars have set up an emphatic 108-76 victory over Lebanon to put the Tall Blacks within sight of the knockout rounds in Istanbul.
While all Lebanese eyes were on superstar Kirk Penney, it was Mika Vukona and 23 year old Thomas Abercrombie who sparked a stunning 32-16 first quarter. Abercrombie had 10 points in the first four minutes, while Vukona had 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal for the quarter.
Penney fired, as expected, after the first quarter surge, finishing with 26 points on 6/10 from the perimeter, while Abercrombie (23 points, 7 rebounds), Vukona (11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), Phill Jones (13 points), Lindsay Tait (12 points) and Craig Bradshaw (10 points) also finished in double figures.
For Lebanon, only Fadi El Khatib put up strong resistance with 18 points and 7 rebounds, while Rony Fahed also tried hard and finished with 12 points.
Consecutive El Khatib buckets early in the second quarter brought the score to 34-22, the Lebanese fans to life and forced New Zealand coach Nenad Vucinic to call timeout. But Abercrombie answered immediately and the Tall Blacks defence shut the Cedars down.
When Penney nailed his first triple of the game and Abercrombie soared over Freije late in the quarter the Tall Blacks had a 51-32 half time lead.
The second half was a mere formality as Penney and Phill Jones filled it up from outside, setting up a 81-56 three quarter time lead and the eventual 32-point margin. A late one-handed Abercrombie alley-oop will go close to play of the tournament.
New Zealand face Canada tomorrow in a crunch game, while Lebanon must beat either Spain or Lithuania in their two remaining games to have any hope of progressing to the Eight Finals.
Craig Bradshaw (player): It was a battle the whole game, they played hard we just had to play harder. At half time we said we have to keep going at them, keep scoring and don’t let up.
Nenad Vucinic (coach): Congratulations to my team. They really played with their hearts, and with their heads, most of the time. For me as a coach, that was honestly the biggest win in my coaching career. I had coached against Tab in the 90s for many years in the New Zealand league and never won a game, because Tab is one of the best coaches in the world.
Thomas Abercrombie and Mika Vukona helped us with a lot of offensive rebounds, and that gave us confidence really to shoot the ball better. That was the key to the game, and also our turnover count was low.
Tab Baldwin (coach): The haka is special for New Zealanders. It always feels special whether you’re having done as part of a team that you are part of, or one of those occasions when you might have it done to you.
We were severely outplayed, and as Nenad said, we got dominated in those possession statistics like offensive rebounds and turnovers, it was almost impossible to win. And the fact that New Zealand did such a great job in those categories at the beginning of the game, they created that mood, that atmosphere in the game and they never let that momentum go.
ANKARA (2010 FIBA World Championship) – Turkey got off to the perfect start and never looked back as they cruised past Ivory Coast
86-47 in front of a 7,700 strong crowd at Ankara Arena.
Omer Onan, Kerem Tunceri and Ersan Ilyasova led a three-point barrage in the early going to take a commanding 14-0 lead.
Ivory Coast eventually got in the scoring column, courtesy of Mohamed Kone. Once they got that first basket, the underdogs seemed to relax and get into the game.
The hosts had a 23-11 advantage at the end of the opening quarter, but the visitors did not let that – and the partisan crowd – deter them as they found their stroke from long range at the start of the second period to get within six, 25-19.
However, the hosts applied some effective zone defense and Randoald Dessarzin – without star point guard Pape-Philippe Amagou through injury – turned the ball over time and time again, leading to easy baskets for the Turks who led 40-22 at the break.
Bogdan Tanjevic rested his starters in the third quarter but the move did not seem to throw off his charges as they maintained a comfortable lead.
The visitors looked visibly tired in the final period and the Turks took full advantage as they stretched their advantage and did so in style.
Ilyasova fed Omer Asik for an easy dunk and later Sinan Guler, who visited with FIBATV.Com after the victory, wrapped a behind the back pass to Onan for a lay-up to make it 70-41. The latter then followed that up with a three-pointer much to the crowd’s delight.
Bogdan Tanjevic (Turkey head coach): “We got off to a very good start, especially the team game we played. We did well on defense, our zone press was good. The support of our fans made us very happy and gave us power. Congratulations to all my players.”
Sinan Guler (Turkey guard): “Our fans fuelled us tonight. They gave us a lot of energy. When looking at the game in general, we were efficient in all parts, without neglecting the defense. Hedo (Hidayet Turkoglu), our top scorer, didn’t score except for free-throw but he helped us with seven assists. We have shown our game as a team very well and if we keep doing that, we can keep this good game with good results including Russia.”
Randoald Dessarzin (Ivory Coast head coach): “We didn’t fight enough and also we really missed the experience of Pape-Philippe Amagou. We lost our second guard, Issife Soumahoro, during the game and Turkey didn’t need that to put themselves in the driver’s seat. Today we didn’t play with enough fluency. Our lack of experience is what made us lose. There are positives to take. I think we played well at the end of the first quarter.”
Guy Edi (Ivory Coast guard/forward): “We were a little tense and this was an intimidating atmosphere. We started slow but got into the game after a while. Some of our players were injured so we had to change the system. But we still could have played better.”