In a Sal’s NBL South Island derby the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams bounced back from two consecutive losses to defeat the Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets 88-77 at the Edgar Centre, Dunedin on Thursday night.
Sunday Dech put together another impressive stats line for the Rams corralling 10 rebounds, 3 steals in addition to making a game high 23 points. Max Darling contributed 19 points and 8 rebounds but arguably the performance of the night belonged to Walter Brown.
The bouncy teenage forward scored a career high 14 points, on 5 from 9 shooting, and also snared 7 boards in a performance of immense promise.
Keith Williams top scored for the hosts with 22 points, Todd Withers had 15 points while Sam Timmins claimed his seventh double-double of this campaign with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Tray Boyd III dropped 28 points against Auckland Tuatara last week but was less impressive on his home debut. The American guard scored 13 points but made zero from 10 from the 3-point arc, shooting 5 from 21 overall.
Dech leads the NBL in steals averaging 3.4 per game and he had a couple in the opening quarter, to accompany 7 points, but it was the Nuggets with a 23-16 lead at the first break.
Nuggets guard Williams hit double figures early in the second period, however the Rams grabbed the lead with a 15-3 run – scoreless on debut last week American entre Matt Moyer made a couple of threes.
Forward duo Darling and Brown dominated the closing stages of the first half as the Rams carried a 46-36 lead to the locker room.
The Rams took their lead to a game high 16 points, courtesy of Brown’s corner three, and Nuggets head coach Brent Matehaere needed a timeout.
Jack Andrew scored on the resumption but the Rams were still 16 ahead at the three-quarter mark (65-49).
Influential Otago wing Todd Withers exited the court for a period with an injury to add to the home sides woes, still 16-points down with seven minutes to play.
Timmins scored inside, Boyd in transition and Aitcheson from the foul line – the Nuggets deficit 11 points with five minutes remaining.
Dech made his third three of the contest, Darling converted an And-1 play as the Rams lead remained in double figures.
Boyd turned it into a single digit lead with 2:51 to play and it was Judd Flavell’s turn to call a timeout.
Withers made it a 7-point game but time was the enemy of the hosts, Dech able to close out the Rams win.
Both teams now have 6-5 records. The Nuggets have a week off to lick their wounds while the Rams will visit the struggling Sharks on Saturday.
SCORE: Nuggets 77, Rams 88
Nuggets: Williams 22 PTS | Timmins 14 PTS, 13 REB
Rams: Dech 23 PTS, 10 REB | Darling 18 PTS | Brown 14 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Sunday Dech (Rams) - 10 votes
Keith Williams (Nuggets) - 8 votes
Max Darling (Rams) - 6 votes
Sam Timmins (Nuggets) - 4 votes
Walter Brown (Rams) - 2 vote
Nuggets – July 3 vs. Auckland Tuatara
Rams – June 25 @ Canterbury Rams
Round 9 Sal's NBL Schedule