In a nail-biting match, the Tall Blacks emerged victorious against a determined Jordan team with a score of 95-87 in overtime during their second game at the men’s basketball World Cup in Manila. With this win, New Zealand now holds a win and a loss, keeping their hopes alive for the second round.
Throughout most of the game, New Zealand maintained a lead, but Jordan’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a former NBA forward, delivered a crucial three-pointer late in the fourth quarter, equalizing the scores and forcing the game into overtime. However, the Tall Blacks showcased their mettle and outscored Jordan 10-2 in the extra period to secure their first win of the tournament.
Izayah Le’afa delivered an exceptional performance, adding 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals as a substitute player. His impressive performance included hitting 4 out of 8 three-pointers, including a pivotal shot in overtime. Additionally, Shea Ili displayed dominance with 15 points and 10 assists, while Finn Delany contributed 14 points, with 11 of them scored in the first quarter.
Coach Pero Cameron expressed his satisfaction with his team’s response in overtime, acknowledging the tough competition Jordan always brings. He stated, “We accept all challenges in front of us and will come out fighting [against Greece].”
Le’afa praised the coaching staff and the team’s cohesion during the game, attributing their success to the preparation and unity built over five weeks. He emphasized the team’s belief in themselves and their coach’s ability to prepare them for future challenges.
The Tall Blacks’ next challenge is against Greece on Thursday, a crucial match that will determine the team advancing to the second round. The winner of this game will join the USA in the next stage of the competition.
The match against Jordan showcased the resilience and determination of the Tall Blacks, who managed to thwart the efforts of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, despite his impressive 39-point performance and 9 rebounds. While Hollis-Jefferson put on a remarkable show, he also contributed to Jordan’s turnovers.
Looking forward, the Tall Blacks are focused on their upcoming clash against Greece, scheduled for Thursday. With their recent win boosting their morale, the team aims to secure their place in the next round of the World Cup.
Final Scores: New Zealand 95 – Le’afa 23 PTS & 5 REB & 5 AST | Ili 15 PTS & 10 AST | Delany 14 PTS & 5 REB | Wetzell 13 PTS & 6 REB | Fotu 11 PTS & 5 REB | Ngatai 9 PTS | Te Rangi 7 PTS | Cameron 3 PTS
Jordan 87 – Hollis-Jefferson 39 PTS & 9 REB | Ibrahim 22 PTS & 9 AST | Dwairi 19 PTS & 8 REB |
The intense match saw quarter scores of 21-18, 46-37, 65-57, 85-85, and the Tall Blacks emerging victorious at 96-87 in overtime.