Pouring in the points has never been a problem for long-time New Zealand international Kirk Penney, a player the Tall Blacks will lean heavily upon this year at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

He averaged 23.5 per game in leading the Kiwis to the 2009 FIBA Oceania title over Australia.

Penney scored at will on Thursday when he erupted for a career-high 49 points while leading his club side New Zealand Breakers to a 103-89 triumph over the Adelaide 76ers in the NBL.

Not surprisingly, the 29-year-old has been named the Round 17 MVP Down Under.

Penney, the league’s 2009 MVP, buried nine of 15 shots from long range and 16 of 23 from the floor overall.

He also sank eight of 11 free-throws.

The Tall Blacks captain played down the achievement, though.

“These individual performances, they fade. They fade in the background,” he said.

“When you have championships and share them with guys, that’s what you remember.

“When you’re sitting in a bar in 10 years time, you don’t sit there and go ‘I had 49’, I want to say – dude we won a championship.”

That’s going to be tough for the Breakers to achieve this season.

Title favorites before the campaign, New Zealand are chasing the fourth and final spot in the NBL Finals.

They won 95-81 over the Gold Coast Blaze on Saturday. Heading into Wednesday’s game at Townsville, Penney’s Breakers have 11 wins and 13 defeats and trail fourth-place Wollongong (13-11).

Later this year for New Zealand in Izmir, Turkey, Penney and the Tall Blacks will face Spain, France, Lebanon, Canada and Lithuania in Preliminary Round Group D.


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