The Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams have powered past the Property Brokers Manawatu Jets on Friday night, claiming a 92-82 victory in Palmerston North.
Imports Sunday Dech and Ryan Taylor wasted no time settling into this one, combining for 35 first half points. They were responsible for seven of the Rams' eight first half 3-pointers, helping them to a 54-39 lead at the break. Dech totaled 27 points, four rebounds, two assists and four steals on 10-of-19 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 from three for the game - a big outing after being relatively quiet last week.
The American guard Taylor finished with 27 points on 6-of-13 shooting from outside. His performance was night and day from Round 2, and it certainly seemed like he found his footing with some hot shooting for much of the game. Taylor showcased a quick release on his 3-point shot, something that opposing defences will be on alert for moving forward.
The Jets managed to get it to single digits on a handful of occasions through the first 20 minutes, but with Dech and Taylor in the game the Rams were the superior team on both ends of the floor. Jets guard Pafe Momoisea shot a perfect 3-of-3 from the field in the first half for a team-high 12 points. He would finish the game with 14 points, three rebounds and six assists in 30 minutes of work.
Manawatu showed some fight in the fourth quarter with strong showings from Shane Temara and import Robert Crawford. Temara's return to the lineup was a welcomed boost for the Jets and he showcased his improved perimeter game hitting four 3-pointers - something the Jets have lacked in recent rounds. He recorded 22 points and seven rebounds in 32 minutes, shooting a tidy 8-of-14 from the floor (4-of-8 3PT).
American forward Crawford looked more comfortable in the second half and was noticeably looking for his shot. He scored 16 points for the game on just 4-of-15 shooting, but once he has settled in he should be a more reliable offensive option for the Jets.
Fellow import Zane Najdawi managed 17 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting in his first game of the season. His priority for much of the game was to work it into the paint and when he did, he was effective at finding ways to score. With another big man import to come, the Jets suddenly have a nice frontcourt rotation that will make game planning for them a challenge.
The Rams will be encouraged with the victory, but they'll have to turn their attention to the Taranaki Airs on Sunday in New Plymouth. The athletic Airs will be well rested and ready to pounce.
SCORE: Jets 82, Rams 92
Jets: Temara 22 PTS, 7 REB| Crawford 16 PTS | Najdawi 17 PTS, 9 REB, | Momoisea 13 PTS
Rams: Dech 27 PTS, 4 REB, 4 STL, 5 3PM | Taylor 27 PTS, 6 3PM | Karena 18 PTS, 10 REB | Britt 5 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Ryan Taylor (Rams) - 10 votes
Sunday Dech (Rams) - 8 votes
Shane Temara (Jets) - 6 votes
Taylor Britt (Rams) - 2 votes
Robert Crawford (Jets) - 2 votes
Zane Najdawi (Jets) - 1 vote
Mike Karena (Rams) - 1 vote
Jets - May 22 vs. Otago Nuggets
Rams - May 15 @ Taranaki Airs
Round 3 Sal's NBL Schedule