Tall Black Isaac Fotu and Tall Ferns Jordan Hunter and Nelson's Jelena Vucinic starred for their respective United States college teams, helping to steer University of Hawaii, Southeast Missouri University and Louisiana Tech to tough victories.
Fotu enjoyed a breakout game for University of Hawaii, helping them to a hard-fought 71-66 win over North Dakota.
On a night when the home crowd was encouraged to sport Fotu 'fros, the young Kiwi came off the bench for a career-high 17 points (8/12 FG, 1/2 FT), eight rebounds and two blocks, as the Rainbows ran up a 42-27 halftime lead and then held on.
Hawaii improved to 4-1 for the season and next visit Nevada Las Vegas on December 1.
Hunter made a lay-up with 4.2 seconds remaining to get the Redhawks up 52-51 over Arkansas State. Her basket was SEMO's only lead of the game, as they rallied from as many as 16 points down in the first half.
Hunter had five points, six assists and two steals to guide her team to 2-2, and their next outing is against Houston tomorrow.
Vucinic led her Techsters with 17 points (2/4 3pt, 7/7 FT), four assists and four steals in a 65-63 win over Central Arkansas. The win was Louisiana Tech's first of the season, and the loss was Central Arkansas' first.
Tech (1-3) next take on Ole Miss on December 1.
Meanwhile, fellow Kiwis Rob Loe and Steve Adams discovered the harsh reality of big-time college basketball, both going scoreless and tasting defeat at the hands of highly ranked opponents. Loe's University of St Louis fell 59-73 to Kansas, while Adam's Pittsburgh Panthers lost 62-67 to Michigan.
For Pittsburgh (4-1), the result was their first loss of the season.
But Tall Ferns guard Erin Rooney helped Fordham University remain unbeaten, scoring 14 points, eight rebounds and two steals in a 55-48 win over San Francisco.
On a West Coast road trip, the Fordham Rams (4-0) next face Pacific tomorrow.
- The Nelson Mail