Tall Blacks ready for South Korean challenge at Asia Cup: 'They play an up-tempo game'

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NZN

Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare says his young team will face a very different challenge against South Korea in their final Asia Cup group match in Beirut early on Sunday (NZT).

The young Kiwis have picked up two wins from two starts to date, downing Kazakhstan 70-49 in their opening match before upsetting hosts Lebanon 86-82 on Friday.

The Tall Blacks currently top Group C in the 16-nation tournament, with Korea just one point behind in second place.

A third win will send the Kiwis straight through to the quarter-finals, while a loss means they must play a sudden-death qualifying match to go through.

Henare says the Koreans will test his team's ability to adapt to a different style of offence.

"Korea space the floor and are a team of shooters, from guards to bigs, they can hit their spots," he said.

"But we have spoken about the need to be ready for everything the day and the game will throw at us."

Assistant coach Pero Cameron says the Tall Blacks will have to work harder than ever defensively.

"Korea play a very disciplined and fast style with outside shooting a big factor," he said.

"They play an up-tempo game and will be very structured, we will have to be at our best to match them."

Cameron says shutting down Korea's two-metre centre Sekeun Oh will be key, but the Kiwis will also have to trust their systems and put up their shots.

"Our shooters have to shoot, if you miss the first two shots, you take the third." Cameron said.

"That might mean taking responsibility, but sometimes that means recognising the need for one more pass and saying to your teammate 'I back you to make this'."

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