NU MEDIA RELATIONS:
Manila – Behind a double-double from Tai Webster, New Zealand opened the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament with an 89-80 win over the Philippines Wednesday morning.
Webster, a 6-foot-4 guard who will be a senior for the Huskers this season, paced New Zealand with 25 points on 7-of-15 shooting, 11 rebounds and three rebounds in 32 minutes of work.
Webster also went 10-of-11 from the foul line, including five of six from the line in the final quarter, to help New Zealand earn a bid in the semifinals this weekend.
Webster, whose career highs in three seasons at Nebraska are 22 points and eight rebounds, scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter, but none bigger than a 3-point play with 6:39 remaining after the Philippines cut a 13-point lead to 62-60.
Webster’s 3-point play sparked a decisive 16-5 run, allowing New Zealand to pull away and rebuild a 13-point lead, at 78-65, with 2:26 left.
New Zealand will take on France Thursday morning at 8 a.m. (central) for first place in Group B. France defeated the Philippines, 93-84, in its opening round game on Tuesday.