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Webster injured in heavy Tall Blacks loss

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/06/2016

A calf injury to guard Corey Webster is a major concern for the Tall Blacks after they crashed to a 84-55 loss to Latvia in Riga.

Key scoring guard Webster suffered a calf strain in the second quarter and took no further part in a disappointing New Zealand performance.

The extent of the injury won't be known until scan results are assessed but there will be concern about the 27-year-old's fitness heading into next week's Olympic qualifying tournament in the Philippines.

Webster scored 29 points in the 75-72 loss to Iran on Sunday.

Without him, the Tall Blacks struggled for point production against the well-drilled Latvians.

The scores were level 26-26 before his exit but the Tall Blacks were outplayed after that, with coach Paul Henare admitting his players need to be harsh on themselves.

"For whatever reason we weren't up to it," he said.

"Maybe for a number in this group they simply didn't appreciate the quality we would be up against tonight.

"We can walk away from this with our tails between our legs, or we can take it on the chin, learn from it and get better as a result."

Henare said losing Webster shouldn't be blamed for the performance, with his squad boasting enough quality to cover for the loss of any player.

Latvia sunk a torrent of three-point shots before halftime to open a 47-31 lead.

The Tall Blacks closed the margin to single figures soon after the break but were 19 points behind heading into the final quarter, in which they only managed nine points.

Isaac Fotu top-scored for New Zealand with 11 points while Tom Abercrombie notched 10.

They face another stiff task against world No.3 Lithuania on Wednesday before leaving for Manila.

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