Defence reigned at Cowles Stadium on Sunday afternoon as the fearsome front-court of Rob Loe and Chris Johnson led the Auckland Tuatara to their third straight victory with a 84-56 win over the Canterbury Rams.
The Rams were bolstered in the days prior to the game by the addition of imports Sunday Dech and Ryan Taylor, while kiwi Max Darling returned from an overseas assignment in Romania, and Head Coach Judd Flavell stood courtside for the first time with the Rams having finished duties with his ANBL team.
However, familiarity won through as the Tuatara continued their brilliant start to the season. Johnson and Loe took control from the start, effecting almost every shot the Rams dared to take.
While Taylor struggled on debut (0 PTS 0/4), Dech brought his expected tenacity on the defensive end alongside Joe Cook-Green and Taylor Britt to keep the Rams in it through the third quarter.
A scoring barrage from Brayden Iuli (13 PTS, 5-7) and Taki Fahrensohn (14 PTS) in the fourth ended any hopes the capacity crowd had of a Rams win, as Johnson and Loe continued to deny any chance of a comeback.
SCORE: Rams 84, Tuatara 56
Tuatara: Johnson 24 PTS, 15 REB| Loe 18 PTS, 12 REB, 7 AST | Russo-Nance 15 PTS, 5 AST
Rams: Britt 16 PTS, 4 AST | Dech 9 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Rob Loe (Tuatara) - 9 votes
Chris Johnson (Tuatara) - 9 votes
Dontae Russo-Nance (Tuatara) - 5 votes
Taylor Britt (Rams) - 4 votes
Sunday Dech (Rams) - 2 votes
Joe Cook-Green (Rams) - 1 vote
Rams - May 13 @ Manawatu Jets
Tuatara - May 16 @ Wellington Saints
Round 2 Sal's NBL Schedule