The Aon New Zealand Under 17 Boys have advanced to the quarter-final round at the FIBA Asian Championship, following a 79-42 win over Malaysia on Thursday.
New Zealand's gritty defence was again on display, as Malaysia were often forced into contested long-range jumpers or wild shots in the paint; New Zealand’s ability to pressure the ball has been a big reason for their success in Foshan so far.
Malaysia were held to 23.1 per cent shooting from the field and turned the ball over 23 times, while New Zealand shot a 42.2 per cent clip from the field, turning the ball over 19 times.
Three players scored in double figures for New Zealand. Shalom Broughton had 13 points on a tidy 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, while Mitchell Dance continued his impressive run with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists on 5-of-9 shooting. Jake McKinlay contributed 11 points and seven rebounds, and Tom Cowie had himself a productive night across the board, recording nine points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.
New Zealand head coach Dave Bublitz said it was a solid team win, but a few areas need adjustments ahead of their next game.
“It was a good team performance tonight played at a completely different pace than our previous game,” said Bublitz. “Scoring and rebounding were spread evenly across a number of players.
“One area that will need rectifying is the consistency at which the boys rebound as a group. Iran are a lot longer and more active on the boards. Controlling this area will be crucial,” he said.
New Zealand will play Iran in the quarterfinals on Friday at 3pm NZT (time is subject to change). The top-four placed teams at the Asian Championship will qualify for the FIBA Under 17 World Cup in Argentina, beginning June 30. A win over Iran will secure them a top-four finish and a World Cup berth.
· The team roster: http://nz.basketball/News/aon-nz-u17-boys-named-as-fiba-draws-asia-cup
· See FIBA’s tournament website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/asia/u16/2017/news/draw-results-in-for-fiba-u16-asian-championship
· More basketball news at www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.