Pay­back is sweet for the Tall Blacks

Marlborough Express - - SPORT - MARC HIN­TON

The New Zealand Tall Blacks wanted this one badly, and de­liv­ered with a sweet dose of re­venge against South Korea in Seoul yes­ter­day.

Paul Henare’s New Zealand squad is now back in the box seat in group B of Fiba Asia’s World Cup qual­i­fy­ing af­ter se­cur­ing back-to-back qual­ity road vic­to­ries in the Fe­bru­ary win­dow.

The Tall Blacks fol­lowed Fri­day night’s grind-out state­ment vic­tory over China in Dong­guan with an even more im­pres­sive 93-84 win against the dan­ger­ous Kore­ans.

Of course, Korea had stunned the New Zealan­ders with an 86-80 up­set in Welling­ton in Novem­ber, so this turn­around was par­tic­u­larly sweet for Henare’s men who had been stung by that home slip up.

The twin vic­to­ries im­prove New Zealand to a group-top­ping 3-1 record, and eases some of the pres­sure they would have been feel­ing head­ing into this two-game win­dow.

They were led, as they of­ten are, by the of­fen­sive bril­liance of world-class shoot­ing guard Corey Web­ster, who fin­ished with a game-high 30 points on 11-of-18 shoot­ing. The Is­rael-based sharp­shooter made six of his nine shots from deep and added six as­sists and three re­bounds in a bril­liant all-round dis­play.

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