Pero Cameron on New Zealand vs. Jordan: “Tough game”


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New Zealand foiled Jordan and Rondae Hollis Jefferson’s impressive 39-point performance, clinching a tense 94-87 overtime victory. This triumph keeps New Zealand in contention for a top-two spot in Group C and advancement to the Second Round.

Initially leading by 12 in the fourth quarter, New Zealand encountered a challenge from Freddy Ibrahim and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who closed the gap to just one point with five minutes remaining.

Despite New Zealand’s five-point lead in the final minute, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson stole the spotlight. He drew a foul on a three-pointer, sank all three shots, and, with only 10.7 seconds left, nailed a fouled three-pointer to force overtime, accompanied by resounding “Kobe! Kobe!” chants.

The overtime period favored New Zealand as Jordan fatigued. A steal and three-pointer by Izayah Le’afa secured their advantage, allowing Shea Ili to guide New Zealand to a secure victory.

“Tough game, we knew it was going to be tough because we always play tough games against Jordan,” said Pero Cameron, New Zealand head coach. “A couple of players were exceptional tonight, and we’re very grateful to get the win in overtime. We would’ve loved to get it earlier.”

Watch the game highlights between New Zealand and Jordan in the First Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023:

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