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Aussies lower boom on Tall Blacks

By Staff
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MELBOURNE, Mar 24 (Reuters) Australia's ''Boomers'' clawed the gold medal away from New Zealand's ''Tall Blacks'' in the Commonwealth Games men's basketball final today.

Luke Kendell scored 17 points to help the host side overturn a late fourth-quarter deficit against their trans-Tasman rivals.

Jason Smith drained a pressure three-pointer with one minute 22 seconds to go to break a 76-76 tie and Kendell sank one of two free throws with 30.6 seconds left to ice the game.

Australia's women won the first Commonwealth Games basketball gold medal on Thursday with a blow-out 77-39 win over New Zealand.

The Boomers had steamrolled their way to the final, demolishing opponents by an average of just under 60 points a game, including a 133-49 pummelling of India.

New Zealand were an altogether different proposition, leading the final 37-36 at halftime. The Kiwis still led by one after three quarters and by two with 2:40 left in the fourth.

Giant centre Pero Cameron led New Zealand's scorers with 22 points but missed crucial shots as the Tall Blacks faltered down the stretch.

England took bronze with a 80-57 victory over Nigeria.

Basketball is making its Commonwealth Games debut in Melbourne and has attracted sell-out crowds. It has yet to be confirmed for the 2010 Games in Delhi.

Reuters PDS DB1837

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