The Tall Blacks have cruised to a 110-65 victory over Nigeria in their Commonwealth Games opener in Cairns.
Nigeria managed to hang around for much of the first half thanks to 12 points by former NBAer Ike Diogu. However, he was held in check for the remainder of the game, failing to score a single point in the second half.
New Zealand held a 50-35 advantage at the half, a smaller margin than many thought it would be, but they clamped down over the final 20 minutes, outscoring Nigeria 60-30.
Veteran Thomas Abercrombie led the way for the Tall Blacks, amassing 21 points. Abercrombie struggled big-time over the final few games of the ANBL season, so it’s good to see him bounce back in international play with a solid outing.
Jordan Ngatai added 16 points for NZ and Finn Delaney contributed 14. Rob Loe and Ethan Rusbatch each scored 12 points.
It was an all-round team effort for New Zealand, with balanced scoring across the board and some solid defence in the second half.
The Tall Blacks will have a tougher task at hand tonight, squaring off with Australia at 11pm NZT. Australia are coming off a 95-55 drumming of Canada, and will arguably be New Zealand’s biggest test of the tournament.