Fiba World Cup: New Zealand overcomes Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to beat Jordan
MANILA, Philippines–New Zealand survived a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson-led Jordan uprising and claimed a 95-87 overtime victory in Group C of the Fiba World Cup.
The Tall Blacks got on the win column at Mall of Asia Arena despite squandering a lead late in regulation when Hollis-Jefferson tied the game on a four-point play.
Izaya Le’afa started the extension with a three-pointer and Shea Ili converted a three-point play to make it 91-85 and propel New Zealand to a bounce-back showing after being handed a 27-point thrashing by the United States two nights ago.
Le’afa scored 23 points while Ili had 15 points and 10 assists for the Pero Cameron-coached New Zealand, now at 1-1 going into the final group play on Wednesday against Greece.
Greece, a winner of Jordan over the weekend, is set to face the United States in the nightcap
Jordan fell to 0-2, spoiling an incredible 39-point showing from Hollis-Jefferson, who became a fan favorite during his valiant performance.
Chants of “Kobe!” in reference to being a lookalike of the late great NBA legend Kobe Bryant reverberated during the Jordan fightback in the fourth.
He tied the game at 85-all when the lefty fired a three-pointer plus a foul to boot, hitting the bonus free throw in the process.
Hollis-Jefferson, who was naturalized by Jordan just a few months before the World Cup, also had nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.