Tom Abercrombie turned on an outstanding display to lead the New Zealand men to victory in their bronze medal basketball match against Scotland today.
While some of his team-mates struggled to recover from the morale-shattering final-second defeat by Canada yesterday, and to adapt to the early start today, Abercrombie scored 26 points and hauled his team to victory.
“I’m proud to win a bronze medal. It’s something I’ll cherish,” Abercrombie, 30, said.
“In a way was hoping I wouldn’t have to play Scotland – I’ve got some Scottish blood in me. But I was excited to play them and wanted to do whatever it took to win the bronze.”
New Zealand were never able to totally bury the gritty Scots.
The first quarter ended with Scotland ahead 21-19, which was a wake-up call to the New Zealanders. Over the next two quarters New Zealand asserted themselves and going into the final spell led 59-44.
But Scotland fought back, actually winning the final quarter 25-20.
Abercrombie landed three from six from the field, a most impressive six from nine from the three-point line, and both his free throws. It was a memorable performance.
Rob Loe chipped in with 12 points. Finn Delany did good work in making seven rebounds.
Abercrombie said the New Zealanders wanted to be in the final. “That was the goal and it was our own doing we didn’t get there. We didn’t achieve our goal for the tournament, but I’m still proud of this.”
New Zealand coach Paul Henare looked on the bright side. “We’re not as high on the podium as we wanted, but at least we’re still on the podium,” he said.
“It was tough for the guys to bounce back psychologically and physically, after what happened against Canada yesterday – the emotional circumstances of the way it ended.
“Also, Scotland were playing for their own piece of history and that’s always tough to play against. So I knew it going to be a grind. I’m just pleased we got there.”
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Tom Abercrombie Rob Loe Finn Delany Paul Henare Basketball