Aaron Bailey-Nowell ejected as New Zealand bow out of 3x3 Basketball World Cup
Taranaki's Aaron Bailey-Nowell isn't someone who will take being pushed around.
So, when the Netherlands side continued to get away with singlet holding in their match against Bailey-Nowell's New Zealand side at the 3x3 Basketball World Cup in Nantes, France, on Tuesday morning (NZ time) he did something about it.
"Aaron took a stand against the opposition for the continued hooking and singlet holding on and off the ball. Unfortunately he was called for a questionable unsportsmanlike foul and had to leave the arena," New Zealand coach Anthony Corban said.
Down to three players and no substitute, the New Zealand team struggled in the 37C heat and, despite coming within two points, went down to the Dutch side 20-13.
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Earlier in the day the Kiwis were blown away by a strong American side 21-6.
The US side had a squad of scorers who had been decimating teams throughout the competition and, while the Kiwis had a plan in place to combat this, they weren't able to slow them down.
Corban praised Bailey-Nowell for his performance in the match against the States, however. He said the Kiwis were thrown by singlet holding and Bailey-Nowell did especially well to stand up against the scrappy play.
However, during the game Bailey-Nowell suffered an ankle sprain and was forced to watch on from the sidelines.
The two losses meant New Zealand finished their tournament with a win over South Korea and three losses, including their first match shock loss to Indonesia.
"I honestly thought we could win both games on our opening day, and roll the dice and knock over one of these teams in day three of the tournament," Corban said.
"The physicality of 3x3 suits New Zealand athletes. The only way New Zealand can compete and beat leading nations in the open men's World Cup is playing a series of tournaments before the event.
"Whether they be in Asia or Europe, it's the best way for our players to get used to the holding and hooking on and off the ball, and then start giving it back to the opposition.
"However that is expensive. So there's a lot to consider as we look to a possible berth at the 2020 Olympics."