As it happened: Tall Blacks come from behind in final minute to win qualifier against stunned Lebanon

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of tonight's World Cup qualifier match between the Tall Blacks and Lebanon at Energy Events Centre in Rotorua.

FT: NZL 63-60 LBN

The Tall Blacks win it! What a final two minutes from the home side. Their defence forces Lebanon to crack and they rise to the moment at the free throw line. It's an ugly win and Henare will have them shooting hoops 'til the cows come home so they can find some rhythm again but defence has won them this contest. That's all from us tonight. Enjoy you're evening.

4Q: 0:06, NZL 63-60 LBN

Lebanon put up a three AND IT'S AN AIR BALL! HE'S MISSED THE RIM COMPLETELY. Te Rangi gets the rebound and is fouled immediately. He goes to the free throw line and sinks both. That should do it!

4Q: 0:20, NZL 61-60 LBN

Webster puts up a two, misses, gets the offensive rebound and dishes to Ili. Ili drives and gets fouled! He makes the first free throw to tie it. HE GETS THE SECOND. NZ TAKE THE LEAD! 20 SECONDS LEFT! Timeout called by Lebanon.

4Q: 0:45, NZL 59-60 LBN

Tall Blacks defence puts the pressure on again and they force a turnover! There's a travel called and the Tall Blacks have possession. One point game. 45s left. 

4Q: 0:52, NZL 59-60 LBN

Lebanon get one of two free throws at the other end before Loe lays in a two-pointer at the other end! One point in it!

4Q: 1:10, NZL 57-59 LBN

Corey Webster goes for a three and gets fouled! He misses the first. Gets the second but misses the third! Yikes, big moment in the game there. Could've tied it but the pressure gets to him.

4Q: 1:21, NZL 56-59 LBN

Tall Blacks force the shot clock violation again! 

4Q: 1:46, NZL 56-59 LBN

Lebanon sink a 18 foot jumper after the timeout before Lebanon foul Tai Webster. He misses the first badly. Gets the second. Three in it.

4Q: 2:25, NZL 55-57 LBN

Lebanon drive to the rim and Loe comes up with the big block! Lebanon still in possession but four seconds on the shot clock. Timeout called.

4Q: 2:45, NZL 55-57 LBN

Mojuk converts two free throws of his own at one end before Fotu is fouled at the other. He sinks both! Still two points.

4Q: 3:19, NZL 53-55 LBN

Tai Webster drives to the rim and gets fouled. Gets on of two free throws to make it a two point ball game.

4Q: 3:25, NZL 52-55 LBN

NZ force the shot clock violation again as Lebanon can't find an opening. Just need to convert at the other end!

4Q: 4:23, NZL 52-55 LBN

Webster calls for the pick and roll. Fotu helps out and gets it inside to score again. Three points in it.

4Q: 5:24, NZL 50-54 LBN

Fotu goes in the paint and gets the shot to go. Deficit cut to four.

4Q: 5:41, NZL 46-54 LBN

Tall Blacks persist with the three pointer try and get back in this contest but it's just not working. At some point someone has to muscle up and try a drive to the rim or something.

4Q: 7:51, NZL 46-54 LBN

Lebanon sink another dagger and despite the Tall Blacks' best attempts to respond at the other end, they're in trouble.

4Q: 8:51, NZL 45-51 LBN

Lebanon start with a pair of high pick and rolls and they work perfectly. The second one leads to a three pointer in the corner and puts the Kiwis on the back foot immediately.

4Q: 10:00, NZL 45-46 LBN

Back into it.

3Q: 0:00, NZL 45-46 LBN

Webster nails his own pair of free throws to end the quarter and it's a one-point game with one quarter to go!

3Q: 0:43, NZL 40-45 LBN

Majok drives to the rim twice and gets fouled twice to head to the free throw line. The big man sinks them all and moves to 13 points on the night.

3Q: 2:20, NZL 38-38 LBN

Ili sinks the 15 foot jumper to tie it up!

3Q: 3:26, NZL 36-38 LBN

Corey Webster sinks another three point dagger to keep NZ close. He needs some help down there though.

3Q: 5:04, NZL 33-34 LBN

A couple of careless turnovers really hurting the Tall Blacks right now. Lebanon are struggling to score but it doesn't matter if NZ can't even got a shot up at the other end.

3Q: 7:00, NZL 31-34 LBN

Tall Blacks get three offensive rebounds and they still can't find the hoop as the defence tightens around the rim. Lebanon make them pay at the other end with a big three.

3Q: 8:07, NZL 31-29 LBN

Tai Webster off to a red hot start for the Tall Blacks. Three shots, three made.

3Q: 10:00, NZL 25-25 LBN

Back underway in Rotorua with Tall Blacks in possession.

HT: NZL 25-25 LBN

Corey Webster hits a two-point buzzer beater to tie things up. MUCH stronger second quarter all round from the Tall Blacks but still some issues to pan out. Their fixation with the three-point game is seeing more shots go in but they've also given up four turnovers driving to the paint and then passing out with the ball sailing out of bounds. Henare won't be happy. Let's see if his speech fires up the home team. Ili the best performer so far - 7 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds.

2Q: 1:55, NZL 23-23 LBN

All tied up as the clock ticks down. Both sides driving to the rim looking for fouls and free throws to find a lead.

2Q: 3:23, NZL 19-18 LBN

Lebanon persist with the three-point shot and they continue to miss. At the other end, Ili drives to the basket for a left-handed lay-up before draining a three pointer to give the Tall Blacks their first lead!

2Q: 5:21, NZL 14-18 LBN

Corey Webster comes to the party with a three of his own. That bumps the field goal percentage to 15 per cent. Lebanon call a timeout to sort out their own offensive woes.

2Q: 6:14, NZL 11-18 LBN

The shooting woes continue at the other end despite the defensive prowess. To put it in perspective. Lebanon is shooting at 34% right now which isn't great... NZL is shooting at 12%.

2Q: 7:37, NZL 10-18 LBN

Ili drives to the basket and fires to Tai Webster on the arc. Webster puts it up and it's in! Lebanon look to respond but they're fouled for an illegal screen. Tall Blacks in control so far.

2Q: 8:40, NZL 7-18 LBN

Finally some defensive pressure from the Tall Blacks and they force a shot clock violation. Baby steps.

2Q: 10:00, NZL 7-18 LBN

Back underway.

1Q: 0:00, NZL 7-18 LBN

First quarter in the books and Lebanon are fired up. They push the lead out with a pair of jump shots and a two-point buzzer beater to take a convincing lead. Tall Blacks just look out of sorts right now. Too many forced three-pointers and it's seeing them fall behind big time. Three quarters to turn it around.

1Q: 1:57, NZL 7-12 LBN

Lebanon's Majok is dominating the game at both ends right now. He's nullifying drives to the rim by the Tall Blacks and scoring in the paint at the other. Kiwis need to find an answer.

1Q: 4:45, NZL 5-10 LBN

Lebanon push out to a five point lead with a pair of jumpers. Kiwis still haven't found their range at the other end despite some great defence from Vukona and Fotu. 

1Q: 6:22, NZL 5-6 LBN

Corey Webster is in the game already for Ili. Kiwis just aren't looking fluid on attack so this may be the injection they need. Defence has gotten a lot better in the key though.

1Q: 8:17, NZL 4-4 LBN

Strong start from Fotu as he's already picked up a couple of boards but Lebanon finding inside paths early on. NZ defence needs to sharpen up.


Kiwis win the tip-off and we're underway in Rotorua.


The Tall Blacks face their biggest challenge of their World Cup qualifying campaign so far tonight as they square off in a top-of-the-table clash with Lebanon in Rotorua.

Both teams have only suffered one loss in their respective roads to China so far but the Kiwis sit above them in Group E due to a better points differential.

Still, the Tall Blacks will be looking to cement themselves with a big win tonight with both South Korea and Jordan close behind in the standings as well.

The top three teams from each pool qualify for next year's World Cup meaning while the Tall Blacks are in the driver's seat right now, two losses could see them plummet out of contention.

With that in mind, coach Paul Henare has surprised fans with a call-up for guard Corey Webster.

Webster was omitted from the squad for the second round of qualifying to allow him to rest and prepare for the upcoming NBL season, having just finished a stint overseas.

But after a discussion between the two, Henare has called Webster in to replace Ethan Rusbatch as an experienced go-to player.

"This was not an easy decision, but one we have made with the best interests of the team in mind," Henare said.

"It's no reflection on the way Ethan has carried himself these past two weeks. He has taken this news with obvious disappointment, but [also] great composure and professionalism.

"Corey is a quality international basketballer and brings all of his experience and scoring ability to the group, as well as leadership as a senior player. He knows what is required to win big games and will relish the chance to have an impact."


NZL: Tai Webster, Jarrod Kenny, Tohi Smith-Milner, Reuben Te Rangi, Mika Vukona, Jordan Ngatai, Finn Delany, Corey Webster, Dion Prewster, Shea Ili, Rob Loe, Isaac Fotu

LBN: Nadim Souaid, Ahmad Ibrahim, Gerard Hadidian, Alter Majok, Ali Haidar, Jad Khalil, Amir Saoud, Charles Tabet, Rodrigue Akl, Elias Rustom, Elie Stephan, Daniel Faris

Finn Delany, Tall Blacks in action during the FIBA Asia Cup 8-20 August 2017 in Lebanon. Photo: FIBA
Finn Delany, Tall Blacks in action during the FIBA Asia Cup. Source: Photosport