The Aon New Zealand Under 17s put up a tremendous fight against one of the world’s top teams, Serbia, but they couldn’t overcome a fourth quarter run, falling 78-51.
New Zealand remained within striking distance through three quarters, but a 28-12 run by Serbia in the fourth quarter was enough to propel them to victory.
Mitchell Dance was fantastic with 30 points, six rebounds and one steal in 33 minutes, shooting 12-of-25 from the field and 2-of-8 from three. Dance had his way against the Serbian frontcourt and was a big reason why the team kept so close against a world-class opponent.
New Zealand’s inconsistent shooting held them back from making a real run in this game. They shot just 26.1 per cent from the field and were 6-of-30 (20 per cent) on 3-point attempts. Serbia also enjoyed a significant advantage on the glass, outrebounding New Zealand 62-34.
Head Coach Dave Bublitz was happy with the team’s defence against the third best team in Europe.
“Defensively we did a great job by limiting them to 76 points. Our bigs got into foul trouble and we had no Shalom Broughton.
“Everyone’s ability to put the ball in the basket, except Mitch Dance, was the glaring difference.
“The boys remain positive and will go out fighting and enjoying their time here,” said Bublitz.
New Zealand will play the loser of China-Argentina tomorrow morning and will then have one final game on Monday.
All games at the FIBA Under 17 World Cup are being live streamed on the FIBA Youtube channel, or you can watch live on the Basketball New Zealand Facebook page.
The full box score for New Zealand’s game against France 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.