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Tall Blacks to play in Christchurch again

Ethan Rusbatch, Taylor Britt, Walter Brown
Cantabrians (from left) Ethan Rusbatch, Taylor Britt and Walter Brown have been Tall Blacks regulars in recent years. PHOTO: BBNZ

Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) has confirmed Christchurch will host the Tall Blacks' next FIBA Asia Cup Qualifying game on New Zealand soil.

Pero Cameron's Tall Blacks will face Chinese Taipei on Monday, November 25 (tip-off 7pm) at Christchurch's Wolfbrook Arena, their fourth of six games during the continental cup's qualifying phase.

The last time the Tall Blacks played in Christchurch resulted in a 110-63 win over Saudi Arabia on February 24, 2023, in front of 4000 fans.

Christchurch-born Ethan Rusbatch hit 5-of-7 three-pointers for his team-high 21 points in the win, while Canterbury Rams captain Taylor Britt added nine assists.

BBNZ CEO Dillon Boucher said the Tall Blacks always relished the chance to play in front of a passionate and engaged crowd in Christchurch.

“It’s one of the team’s favourite places to play, as we always know the crowd there is going to be amazing – they love seeing hometown heroes like Ethan, Taylor, Walter [Brown] and Max [Darling] wearing the black jersey, and they’re right behind New Zealand basketball on the international stage,” said Boucher.

“That’s all you can ever ask for as an athlete; playing in a great venue in front of highly engaged basketball fans. Christchurch and Wolfbrook Arena definitely tick both those boxes for us, and it’s great to have the support of Ōtautahi Christchurch to bring the fixture to the region and help make it a huge success.”

Next up for the Tall Blacks is their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Piraeus, Greece, where they will need to first get past Slovenia and Croatia in group play for a chance to play for one qualifying spot to Paris 2024.

They will play Gilas Pilipinas in the Philippines four days earlier during the November international window, with the time and venue to be confirmed.

New Zealand are unbeaten in Group B after the February window, beating Chinese Taipei 89-69 on the road and Hong Kong 88-49 in Auckland. The final two qualifying games are in February, 2025, away to Hong Kong on February 20 and home to the Philippines, venue and time to be confirmed, on February 23.

The Tall Blacks claimed bronze medals at the delayed FIBA Asia Cup in 2022 in Indonesia, beating Jordan 83-75 in the playoff for third. Tohi Smith-Milner earned All-Star Five honours.

New Zealand went 2-3 to finish 22nd at the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Indonesia.



FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament - Piraeus, Greece July 3, 2024: vs Croatia, (3.30am, July 4 NZ Time) July 4, 2024: vs Slovenia (3.30am, July 5 NZ Time)

FIBA Asia Cup Qualifying

February 22, 2024: vs Chinese Taipei (away), WON 89-69 February 25, 2024: vs Hong Kong (Auckland), WON 88-49 November 21, 2024: vs Philippines (away), time and venue TBC November 25, 2024: vs Chinese Taipei (Wolfbrook Arena, Christchurch), 7pm

February 20, 2025: vs Hong Kong (away), time and venue TBC February 23, 2025: vs Philippines (New Zealand), time and venue TBC

August 5-17, 2025: FIBA Asia Cup (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), time and venue TBC


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