SCOOP Olympic Update, Thursday, 21Sept, 2000
SCOOP Olympic Update, Thursday, 21 Sept, 2000
Article: Mathew Loh
THE TALL Blacks played excellent basketball today to really extend European champions, Italy, before finally suffering a hard-fought 78-66 defeat.
It was obvious from the outset the Tall Blacks were up to play ball and they rocked the Italians with at times brutish physical man-on-man defence.
With Kiwi big men Pero Cameron, Tony Rampton, Sean Marks and Rob Hickey in the faces of their much-vaunted European opponents the Italians were unsettled and unlike previous games the Tall Black offence took advantage of their excellent defence.
For the first time in the Olympic tournament New Zealand shooters were in touch and the Tall Blacks nailed five three pointers to stun the Italians and lead 36-32 at the break.
However the Italians revealed their professionalism and class in the second half when some sweet passing started to get men open and they shot brilliantly to earn an exciting come-from-behind win.
For New Zealand, five-time national league MVP, Pero Cameron was again all class on both defence, where he won five rebounds, and on offence where he led his team with 18 valuable points. Phill Jones and Mark Dickel also showed their undoubted skills to net 15 and 11 points respectively.
All three of the above will have maintain their form and hope they recieve outstanding support from their teamates in their next game when the Tall Blacks will outdoubtedley have the game of their lives when they come up against the world famous USA 'dream team'.