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Kiwi basketballers fade in opening loss

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/07/2016

New Zealand basketball's second-tier Select team has started strongly but lacked consistency, losing 83-68 to Montenegro in the opening game of their tour of China.

The inexperienced Kiwis came out hot, leading 21-9 at the end of the first quarter at Longang in the Shenzhen province.

Finn Delany stood up for the New Zealanders, making threes, dunking through traffic and pulling down boards in accumulating 17 points.

Montenegro found their range in the second spell to take a 36-31 lead into the main break before the Kiwis hit back in the third quarter with an 11-2 run to grab back the lead.

But with Montenegro finding their range from beyond the three-point line, the New Zealanders lost momentum and conceded a 15-point lead at the three-quarter mark.

Skipper BJ Anthony led all scorers with 20 points, backed up by the 2m-tall Delany's 17 and Derone Raukawa's 16.

The early loss of guard Brook Ruscoe with a left ankle sprain proved telling, and the Kiwis are hoping for a quick recovery ahead of their second game in the four-team tournament on Friday (NZT).

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