FIBA: New Zealand opens qualifiers with big win over India

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2022 04:40 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2022 06:18 PM

Tom Vodanovich of New Zealand puts up a shot against India in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. FIBA.basketball 
Tom Vodanovich of New Zealand puts up a shot against India in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. FIBA.basketball 

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) New Zealand made a statement in its first game of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers, overwhelming India, 101-46, on Thursday at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

It was a wire-to-wire triumph for New Zealand, as the Tall Blacks raced to a 20-2 lead in the first quarter and were never really threatened.

They led, 32-8, after the opening period, and although India played better in the second and third, they couldn't make any headway into New Zealand's lead.

"It was one of our main focuses, coming into the game," said New Zealand's Dion Prewster of their strong start. "The score doesn't reflect it, but they've got some guys that can put the ball in the basket."

"We thought as a team, collectively, if we could jump out early, we might be able to kill the game, and I think for the most part, we did that," he added.

Tom Vodanovich led the way for New Zealand with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, while Rob Loe had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, along with six assists. Taylor Britt had 11 points and four steals.

Former De La Salle University center Taane Samuel marked his return to the Philippines with five points and three boards.

The Tall Blacks forced India into 25 turnovers that they converted into 26 points.

Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon was the lone player in double-digits for India, with 10 points. As a team, they shot just 36.84% from the field while allowing New Zealand to make over 53% of their attempts. 

India will be back in action on Friday evening against the Philippines, while New Zealand plays again on Sunday, February 27, also against Gilas Pilipinas.