Mixed fortunes for Kiwi NCAA basketballers

MARC HINTON
Last updated 09:59 22/03/2013
Steven Adams
Reuters
MIXED RESULTS: It was one-for-two for the two New Zealanders in action in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament today.

Relevant offers

Basketball

Starting five come up big as Taranaki Mountain Airs see off Hawke's Bay Hawks McKenzie Moore stars as Canterbury Rams topple Southland Sharks Funding crisis for Tall Blacks with $2m price tag accompanying move into Asia Turkish NBA star, team-mate of Steven Adams, hits back at arrest warrant report Wellington Saints notch 15th consecutive win of 2017 NBL season Taranaki Mountain Airs to make amends in crucial game against Bay Hawks Giant forwards named in Junior Tall Blacks' Under-19 World Cup squad Cleveland Cavaliers through to NBA finals as LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan's playoff scoring record Rams forward Marques Whippy fed up with slow starts crippling team National Basketball League: Veteran Southland Sharks player Hayden Allen closing in on return

It was one-for-two for the two New Zealanders in action in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament today.

Steven Adams' Pittsburgh Panthers were stunned 73-55 by Wichita State to fall at the first hurdle in the annual college hoops extravaganza known as March Madness.

Rob Loe's Saint Louis Billikens fared better, taking care of New Mexico State 64-44 to earn a second-round matchup against the winner of the Oklahoma State-Oregon clash.

Adams played his part in an otherwise dismal Pittsburgh effort, the Kiwi freshman phenom finishing with 13 points (5/7 FG, 3/4 FT), 11 rebounds, two blocks and a steal in one of his better offensive displays of the season.

But the Panthers trailed 26-21 at halftime and could never make a run at the appropriately named Shockers over the second half.

Adams led the Panthers in scoring and rebounding and now has some deep thinking to do around whether he enters the NBA draft or comes back for at least another year at Pittsburgh.

Most analysts believe the seven-foot Kiwi needs another year to develop his game, though much will depend on whether NBA sides declare interest in Adams who's considered to have major upside and the size and athleticism to play in the league.

After the game Adams tipped his hand by telling media he's returning for another year: "I'm definitely coming back. I don't know why you guys keep asking that question. I'm definitely coming back." 

Loe, a Tall Black regular in recent seasons, played just 14 minutes for no points (0/1 FG), two rebounds, an assist and a block in the Billikens' comfortable victory over the Aggies. They led 29-16 at the break and comfortably dispelled a run from Wichita State midway through the second half.

It's a notable tournament for fourth-seeded Saint Louis who are still mourning legendary coach Rick Majerus who died in December. The Billikens, with their 28th victory of the season, eclipsed the 1988-89 team's school record of 27 victories. 

Loe and his team-mates wore a ribbon with the word "Coach" on their singlets, as they have since Majerus died of heart failure in December. Jim Crews took over the team at the start of the season because of Majerus' health and led the Billikens to the A-10 regular season and conference crowns.

Last year Saint Louis reached the round of 32 before losing to to Michigan State. 

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

How do you expect the Breakers to perform in this season's Australian NBL?

Last season was a blip, they'll be champions once again

They'll go close to another title, beaten finalists I'd say

Playoffs for sure, but can't see them going any further

Not too excited, they'll miss the playoffs again

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content