6:30 AM ET start for Canada on Saturday vs. New Zealand

Canada gets a bit of a break playing the first game on Saturday which will be helpful if we do win, allowing us to live scout the France/Turkey game.  In New Zealand, Canada gets a quality opponent with which they have had prior international matches with.  The Tall Blacks gave up a fourth quarter lead to France earlier today after defeating an energetic home-supported Philippines team on Wednesday.  New Zealand looked to be in control today up 50-38 early in the fourth before the French turned it on, busting it open with a 22-2 run to lose 66-59.  Tall Blacks are led by their two wings, brothers Tai and Corey Webster.  Tai is entering his senior year at Nebraska where he scored just over 10 ppg last season in the Big 10.  Corey is in his late 20’s and played his college ball at a now-defunct NCAA D2 college:  Lambuth in Jackson, Tennessee; he now toils in the New Zealand professional league.  New Zealand is without arguably their top international player of recent times in 6’6″ Kirk Penney (Wisconsin), now 35 years old.  Corey Webster has averaged 31 minutes per game in the group games (22 ppg), while Tai averaged 28 mpg.  New Zealand is well represented up front with 6’8″ Isaac Fotu, who plays in the Spanish First Division after a strong career with NCAA Division 1 Hawaii Rainbows, where he was First Team All-Big West in his senior season 2013-14.  Fotu averaged 12.5 points/7.5 rebounds per game in 30 mpg in Group play.  Another key member of this group is 6’6″ Thomas Abercrombie, a 29-year old wing/three man who can stroke it; Abercrombie, who has averaged a team high 33 mpg, plays in the Turkish league and is a graduate of Washington State.  New Zealand shot 11 for 27 from downtown including 5 for 15 by Corey Webster as compared to just 9 for 29 from two point range.  This does not appear to be a very deep team with the four players mentioned (Webster brothers, Fotu and Abercrombie) taking 75% of the shots in the France game.  Look for 6’7″ Thomas Scrubb to play a key role defensively at the 3 spot for Canada and for our great stable of guards led by 6’2″ Cory Joseph to put pressure on the New Zealand back court.  Game time is set at 6:30 AM ET on TSN.



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