|9||A. ZHUKANENKO||Did not play|
|10||V. KHRYAPA||Did not play|
|9||J. KENCH||Did not play|
|12||B. ANTHONY||Did not play|
|15||A. PLEDGER||Did not play|
|Min||Minutes played||Tot||Total rebounds||BS||Block Shots|
|%||Shooting percentage||PF||Personal fouls||*||Starters|
ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship) – Russia’s size has worn down New Zealand, 78-56, in a tense Eight Final encounter at the FIBA World Championship, setting up an encounter with old rival the USA in the Quarter Finals.
Russia broke clear of the Oceania champions in the third quarter with Tall Blacks stars Kirk Penney (21 points) and Mika Vukona on the bench with four fouls. Led by the superb Andrey Vorontsevich (18 points, 7/8 fg, 11 rebounds), Russia peeled off a 13-0 run late in the third quarter to break open what had been an arm wrestle.
Russia out-rebounded New Zealand 31-15 after quarter time, while the Tall Blacks made just 5/24 from three point range, missing repeated open looks. Timofey Mozgov (14 points, 7 rebounds) was strong inside for Russia, while Thomas Abercrombie (13 points, 4 rebounds) was tireless in his team’s loss.
New Zealand started quickly, leading, 9-2 after less than four minutes. But a number of missed open shots left the door open for Russia and they gained the ascendency if the half court grind, four straight points from Dmitriy Khvostov levelling the scores at 11-11.
While the Tall Blacks again started quickly in the second quarter, opening up a 21-16 lead on a Penney triple, Russia started to assert their authority in the paint. Defensively they locked New Zealand down, and a Sergey Monya three-pointer gave them a 29-21 lead with 3:41 to play in the half.
New Zealand finished the half strong behind Abercrombie, and when he scored their first eight points of the second half the Tall Blacks closed to 38-35. But first Penney and then Vukona picked up their fourth fouls and Russia took full advantage.
New Zealand's Thomas Abercrombie: "We didn't play the way we wanted to, Russia really dominated us on the rebounding stats tonight. Full credit to Russia, they outplayed us tonight and they deserved to win. Kirk and Mika are keys parts of our team, and having them in foul trouble really hurt us. I dont know where those offensive foul calls came from, but that is basketball and you have to move on. As a whole I think this tournament has been a real positive for us, we got some great scalps down in Izmir, we got three wins which we are really happy with. We did pretty well but we would have liked to get to that quarter final."
Russia's Andrey Vorontsevich: "We did a great job on defense tonight. We were facing the best shooting team behind USA in the competition and we limited them to 56 points. We just stopped their offense. We don't have any NBA stars in the team but we play as a team and we showed a lot of heart."
New Zealand coach Nenad Vucinic: "Congratulations to coach Blatt and the Russian national team for a great performance. We were not happy with the way we played today. Offensively, things we usually do well we didnt do well. We really wanted this game so badly, we wanted it a little bit too much and we burned out. We wanted this win for Pero (Cameron) and Phill (Jones) who have retired from international basketball. They have been the stalwarts of New Zealand basketball, and without them we could not possibly have achieved what we have.
We had three wins against tough opposition, and we are proud of what we have done."
Russia coach David Blatt: "Big congratulations to my players. They played a wonderful game in a pressure situation. We played a tremendous defensive game, we followed the game plan perfectly from a defensive standpoint. We held them to 56 when they usually score 85 a game, and that is no easy task against a well coached team that run offensive sets that a far more sophisticated than most teams here, and have a game-breaker like Kirk Penney. This team (New Zealand) is capable of beating almost anyone here, including us.
The guys deserve all the credit in the world for what they are doing. We have got great performances out of unknown players."