New Zealand Select were given a much sterner test by host club side Jiangsu in the second game of their China tour before pulling away to win 84-65.
As on the previous day against Montenegro, Jordan Ngatai led the NZ Select scoring. His 18 points were gathered at an efficient 8 from 12 from the field, plus 2 from 2 free throws.
The victory was built around a dominant rebounding display led by the USA college based pair Sam Timmins (5pts/12rebs) and Yanni Wetzell (11pts/7rebs). The pair did a sterling job in the absence of Finn Delany and contributed mightily to the 48-18 lopsided count in favour of the Kiwis that included 22 offensive boards.
The Select team edged to an early 18-14 advantage, which extended to 42-31 by half-time. The buffer was stretched to 14 points at three quarter time, eventually winning every quarter, but the margins were only 4, 7, 3 and 5 points in each stanza.
Forward James Hunter was influential in the win with 17 points (6/10FG, 5/6FT) in just 16 minutes of action. Southland Sharks teammate Derone Raukawa contributed 14 points with Wetzell’s 11 points gathered at an efficient 5 from 6 shooting, including a triple.
The Select only connected with 4 from 17 three-point attempts (24%), although Alonzo Burton knocked down two of his three efforts.
The team face Cameroon later today, tip-off 11pm (NZ time).
Final score: Jiangsu 65. NZ Select 84 (Ngatai 18, Hunter 17, Raukawa 14, Wetzell 11, Rusbatch 7, Burton 6, Timmins 5, Tolovae 4, Cook-Green 2).