27 Nov 2017

Tall Blacks thump Hong Kong in WC qualifier

7:08 am on 27 November 2017

The New Zealand men's basketball team has thumped Hong Kong 133-74 in their World Cup qualifying match in Hong Kong.

Tall Blacks Shea Ili

Tall Blacks Shea Ili Photo: FIBA

Both teams were engaged in a high octane shootout in the first quarter, which ended with New Zealand leading 36-22.

But the Tall Blacks shifted into a higher gear from that point, powering away to their first win of the Asian qualifiers for the FIBA 2019 World Cup in China.

After his side suffered a six-point loss to South Korea in Wellington last week, New Zealand coach Paul Henare was a much happier man.

"We set about playing to our own standards tonight, while also paying Hong Kong total respect on a big night for them in front of their home fans.

"It wasn't a case of us settling for the three's, I just kept telling the boys to take their shots as they came, and they did a great job in executing.

"We have enjoyed our time here immensely, we have been well hosted by Hong Kong and enjoyed the welcome from the Hong Kong Association and everyone that has been looking after us, we trust we can offer the same in return next June when Hong Kong come to New Zealand."

Playmaker Shea Ili was ultra-efficient in the Tall Blacks victory, scoring 14 points on top of eight assists, five rebounds, and 6-of-7 field goal shooting.

Reuben Te Rangi also dominated with an all-around line of 16 points, six boards, three assists, three steals, one block and four three-pointers.

Hong Kong, for their part, had four players in double-figure scoring led by Duncan Reid's 17.

New Zealand go on the road in the second window of the Asian qualifiers

against China on February 23.

The Tall Blacks must finish in the top three of their group to progress to the next round.