New Zealand’s fallen to a 76-63 defeat to the Dominican Republic, less than 24 hours after losing narrowly to 2010 runners-up Turkey in their opening encounter.
The Tall Blacks produced a poor shooting performance in one of the games they had targeted as a must-win, converting just 34% from the field.
Dominican NBA star Francisco Garcia was the star, scoring them for a game-high 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting and five-of-seven from beyond the arc.
Tom Abercrombie found his best form after an indifferent effort against the Turks and led the New Zealand effort with 22 points and four rebounds. Kirk Penney added 16 points and Mika Vukona 11 points.
With the USA next up, New Zealand now faces the reality of having to beat Ukraine and Finland in their final group games to have a chance of qualifying for the round of 16.
“Most definitely we are still a chance, Ukraine lost to Finland tonight so there are four teams on one win (excluding USA and Turkey still to play), we are going to rely on results going our way but we have to look to get 2/3 and target Ukraine and Finland, but in terms of formulas we can do it, we have to win those two games though,” assistant coach Paul Henare said.
He added his team has no choice now but to play like their backs are against the wall.
“We were never anything but underdogs and that hasnt changed, whenever our backs are against the wall we play best, hopefully history repeats in our final games and we come out and play well. In section play you get a couple of lives, we have used them up and we have to be at our best to try and get out of section play.”
Dominican Republic 76(Francisco Garcia 29, Jake Martinez 12)
Tall Blacks 63(Tom Abercrombie 22, Kirk Penney 16, Mika Vukona 11).