Basketball: Hot-shooting Tall Blacks run riot against Saudi Arabia in World Cup qualifier

The Tall Blacks have made light work of Saudi Arabia in their World Cup qualifier on Friday, easing to a 110-63 demolition in Christchurch.

The visitors had no answer for the Kiwis' red-hot shooting, scoring at a 65 percent clip, while nailing 12 of their 26 attempts from beyond the arc (46 percent) en route to their highest points total in three years.

The New Zealanders were led by local hero Ethan Rusbatch, who notched 21 points, sinking five of his seven three-point attempts.

Fresh off his stellar rookie campaign with the Australian NBL's Cairns Taipans, centre Sam Waardenburg impressed in his international debut, registering 17 points and eight rebounds.

Veteran guard Reuben Te Rangi added 17 points and five assists, while big men Issac Fotu and Tyrell Harrison were rewarded for their hard work in the paint, both recording double-doubles of 12 points and 11 boards.

The hosts exploded out of the gates courtesy of Rusbatch's hot hand, racing to an imposing 36-16 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Saudi Arabia's three-point shooting ensured they were able to somewhat keep in touch with the New Zealanders, until an unanswered 17-point run in the third quarter blew the scoreline out.

That allowed coach Pero Cameron to reach deep into his bench, giving the likes of Nikau McCullough, Ritchie Rodger and Walter Brown some valuable experience on an international court.

Guard Hyrum Harris made the most of his minutes, dishing out five assists alongside seven rebounds and seven points, as well as bringing the Christchurch Arena crowd to its feet late with a vicious and-one dunk.

The Tall Blacks will now travel to Wellington to face Lebanon on Monday, where a much sterner test awaits.

New Zealand have already qualified for the World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines in August.

New Zealand 110 (Rusbatch 21, Te Rangi 17, Waardenburg 17, Smith-Milner 14, Fotu 12, Harrison 11) Saudi Arabia 63 (Ashoor 13, Alsuwailem 11)