The Aon New Zealand Under 17s have fallen to Egypt 50-64 in their FIBA World Cup opener on Sunday morning.
A solid third quarter push by New Zealand, outscoring Egypt 21-13, just wasn’t enough to propel them to victory in Argentina.
New Zealand struggled to shoot with any consistency and it held them back from really making a run in the game. They shot 24.6 per cent from the field and were 3-of-28 on their 3-point attempts.
Kainoa Lepou was productive with 13 points and seven rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting, while Mitchell Dance chipped in 10 points.
New Zealand got a couple of big games on the glass from Shalom Broughton and Haven Dixon. Broughton grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds, while Dixon finished with 13.
Head Coach Dave Bublitz said playing with confidence on offense was a focal point coming into the game, but the shots just didn’t drop.
“We generated good looks and had plenty of opportunities, unfortunately, we just couldn’t make shots,” said Bublitz.
“The boys had a great third quarter and got themselves back in the contest, but some disappointing turnovers stalled our momentum.
“Staying confident in our shooting and having more discipline on defence are musts in our next game.”
New Zealand has a quick turnaround, as they will face Montenegro at 7am NZT tomorrow morning. Montenegro is coming off a 92-67 loss to the No. 2 seed Canada.
All of the games at the Under 17 World Cup are being live streamed on the FIBA Youtube channel, and you can also watch live on the Basketball New Zealand Facebook page.
The full box score for New Zealand’s game against Egypt can be found HERE.
- - See FIBA’s tournament website here: https://www.fiba.basketball/world/u17/2018
- - More basketball news at www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.