Buzzer beater breaks NZ hearts

Sunday News - - RUGBY - BREN­DON EGAN

THE Tall Blacks will play off for bronze in the men’s bas­ket­ball at the Com­mon­wealth Games after a last-gasp semi­fi­nal loss to Canada.

New Zealand lost 88-86 after Ma­madou Gu­eye landed a three­p­ointer on the buzzer yes­ter­day on the Gold Coast.

The young Cana­dian side were cruis­ing, up by 21 points (74-53) in the third quar­ter, and led by 17 at the end of that term (75-58).

New Zealand fought back in the fi­nal quar­ter and led 86-85 with five sec­onds left after Shea Ili made one of two free throws.

Gu­eye was the hero for Canada, sink­ing the clutch three to lead his side into to­day’s gold medal match against Aus­tralia and the up­set win.

After over­com­ing Canada 80-62 in pool play, New Zealand were heavy favourites for the clash, but de­liv­ered an er­ror­rid­den dis­play, high­lighted by an alarm­ing 26 turnovers.

New Zealand will take on Scot­land in the bronze medal match to­day.

The Tall Blacks showed plenty of heart to pull them­selves back into the con­test in the fi­nal quar­ter after they looked dead and buried, down by 21 late in the third quar­ter.

Ili pro­vided New Zealand with the spark they needed, net­ting 12 of their first 15 points in the last term.

Back-to-back dunks from Tom Aber­crom­bie had New Zealand ahead 85-83 with 1.07 left.

Canada’s lead­ing scorer Am­manuel Diressa replied at the other end of the court to lock up the score with 51 ticks re­main­ing.

Ili briefly put New Zealand ahead only for Guy­eye to break their hearts as the buzzer sounded.

The Tall Blacks were left to rue a sloppy first three quar­ters, where they were out-hus­tled and out-pas­sioned by their less ex­pe­ri­enced op­po­nent.

Turnovers killed the Paul Henare-coached New Zealand side through­out the con­test, com­mit­ting 15 for the first half.

Canada came out fir­ing, rac­ing out to a 22-10 first quar­ter lead with New Zealand ham­pered by poor shoot­ing and seven early turnovers.

Vukona was a force on the glass with 15 re­bounds, in­clud­ing nine de­fen­sive boards.

Aus­tralia thrashed Scot­land in the other semi­fi­nal 103-46 with five Boomers scor­ing in dou­ble dig­its. Canada 88 (Am­manuel Diressa 22, Conor Mor­gan 19, Mu­nis Tutu 17) 86 (Shea Ili 23, Mika Vukona 13, Tom Aber­crom­bie 13, Rob Loe 9)

22-16, 45-42, 75-58.

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