Tall Blacks out for revenge in World Cup qualifier against Korea




The Tall Blacks have vowed to atone for a nervous display against South Korea when they play their World Cup qualifying return match in Seoul.

Tall Blacks Mika Vukona drops the ball during the Basketball World Cup qualifier match between the Tall Blacks and Korea at TSB Arena in Wellington on Thursday the 23 November 2017. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville / www.Photosport.nz

Tall Blacks' Mika Vukona against Korea

Source: Photosport

New Zealand lost their opening group match to the lower-ranked Koreans in Wellington in November.

They've since notched wins away to Hong Kong and China, the latter an upset 82-73 win in Dongguang on Friday, which coach Paul Henare says shows how far his team have improved.

He hopes they repeat the dose in Seoul tomorrow to alleviate the lingering pain of the loss in Wellington.

"There is no point trying to hide from that. The players have spoken about it, all of us felt it that night," he said.

"Maybe the occasion got the better of us in Wellington but that has only strengthened the resolve in the group. The game in China was a good indication that everyone has a better understanding of what is required to perform in these short FIBA windows."

The China upset was built on defensive intensity and the offensive prowess of sibling guards Corey and Tai Webster, who bagged 18 points apiece.

The defence element is just as important against the 35th-ranked Koreans, whose game is attack-focused and based on speed.

Corey Webster says there is a determination to retain their place at the top of their four-nation qualifying group.

Also, a desire for revenge should nullify the effects of fatigue from travel and a short turnaround.

"You might say we owe them one, I guess for me it has been in the back of my mind since November," he said.

"I came away from that game angry that we didn't play our best and that perhaps we didn't show some of the traditional qualities of Tall Blacks basketball."

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