AUCKLAND New Zealand – The Tall Blacks score 100 points, leaving Jordan defeated with 72 points on the scoreboard at the Eventfinda Stadium.
In the Fiba World Cup qualifier played in Auckland, New Zealand on Monday night, tall Blacks guard Shea Ili challenges Jordan’s Amin Abu Hawwas.
With just four qualifying matches left, Pero Cameron’s quickly developing Tall Blacks put on a clinic on Auckland’s North Shore on Monday night to all but earn a spot at the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
In a Group E Asia/Oceania zone qualification game, the New Zealanders breezed through Jordan, winning 100-72 to improve to 6-0 in the division. The Kiwis would already be on the starting line for next year’s World Cup in Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines as the first of the half-dozen to advance from the area with a Philippines victory over Saudi Arabia later in the evening.
Jordan, who is currently 3-3 in qualifying, was picked to cause the New Zealanders some anxiety after coming close to beating them at the most recent Asia Cup, when Cameron’s team won the bronze medal by a score of 83-75. But after they fell behind the hot-shooting Tall Blacks 29-10 at the end of the first quarter, they were never in this game and never moved within striking distance after that.
The New Zealanders had good ball movement throughout, made a respectable percentage of three-pointers (16 of 35 overall), dominated the glass (54-38), and had a scoring spread that made them a difficult opponent at this level, with five players scoring in double figures and three others coming close.
Shea Ili, the starting point guard and a true team player who sets the tone for the Tall Blacks, took the lead by contributing an astounding 16 points (on 5-of-12 shooting), 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.
Ben Gold, who will play for Marquette, contributed a solid 15 points (on 6-of-12 shooting) and 7 rebounds, while Ethan Rusbatch added 14 points (including four 3-pointers), Flynn Cameron added 13 points and 6 assists, and Reuben Te Rangi added 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The New Zealanders had an excellent 24 assists on their 35 made baskets while shooting a precise 46 percent from the field and beyond the arc. Sharpshooters Dar Tucker and Amin Abu Hawwas each scored 19 points to lead Jordan, who did well to maintain their lead after an icy start.
After about as effective a first quarter as you are likely to see at this level, Cameron’s Kiwis had had the sweetest of stars, exploding out of the gates behind some slick ball movement and precision three-point shooting to lead 29-10.
The Tall Blacks made their first six attempts from beyond three point line, with Rusbatch and Ili nailing two each, and Rob Loe and Tohi Smith-Milner adding their own long shots, before missing their first triple with just 23 seconds remaining in the opening frame.
The New Zealanders effectively ended the game from the start by dominating the boards (14-7), commanding with their full-court defense, and finding the open shooters essentially at whim. They made 11 of their 18 shots during the period while limiting the visitors to just 4 of 18.
To their credit, Jordan managed to stay in the game with a stronger second-quarter performance, winning the period 24-23 to go into the main break at least with a manageable 52-34 deficit. As the visitors started to find some offensive fluency of their own, the Tall Blacks cooling off from deep (going four of 11 for the time) aided them.
Scores at the end of the match
NEW ZEALAND with 100 points
Individual Scores – Shea Ili 16, Ben Gold 15, Ethan Rusbatch 14, Flynn Cameron 13, Reuben Te Rangi 11
JORDAN with 72 points
Individual Scores – Dar Tucker 19, Amin Abu Hawwas 19, Hashem Abbaas 13
Scores per quarter
29 – 10, 52 – 34, 76 – 51, 10 – 72