The final game of Round 4 of the Sal’s NBL saw the Night ‘n Day Otago Nuggets defeat the Property Brokers Manawatu Jets 87-72 at Fly Palmy Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North on Sunday evening.
The Nuggets lost their opening two games of the season but since the arrival of the talented American import trio of Todd Withers, Keith Williams and Tahj McCall have reeled off four straight wins to cement their place in the top-four of the NBL.
All three made significant contributions in the win but it was Sam Timmins with the standout performance. The Otago centre racked up his fourth double-double of the season amassing 29 points (12/20FG) and 13 rebounds with six of the boards at the offensive end.
Withers was also in double-double territory with 18 points and a dozen rebounds.
The Jets also have three imports, in the shape of Zane Najdawi, John Bohannon and Robert Crawford - the triumvirate debuting in this game.
Najdawi and Crawford were joint top scorers for the Jets with 15 points apiece - both made scores in the opening period but it was all Nuggets in the first 10 minutes as they breezed to a 23-9 lead.
Former Jet Nikau McCullough, coming off a career high 29 point outing against the Bulls on Friday, made a brace of threes although it was teammate Timmins that led all scorers at half-time having accumulated 14 points – Nuggets ahead 47-30.
Inspired by the efforts of Pafe Momoisea the Jet’s made a hugely improved showing in the third period trimming the deficit to just 8 points. However the Nuggets responded and closed the stanza with a 65-49 lead.
An upset never looked like materialising but the hosts did cut the Nuggets lead to 10 points with 90 seconds to play, much to the delight of an enthusiastic home crowd.
The win propels the Nuggets to equal second on the NBL ladder, alongside the Canterbury Rams, with a 4-2 record. Meanwhile the Jets slipped to their fourth straight loss and accompany the Saints at the foot of the table.
SCORE: Jets 72, Nuggets 87
Jets: Najdawi 15 PTS & 11 REBS| Crawford 15 PTS | Temara 14 PTS | Momoisea 10 PTS | Bohannon 9 PTS & 14 REBS
Nuggets: Timmins 29 PTS & 13 REBS | Withers 18 PTS & 12 REBS | Williams 10 PTS | McCall 9 PTS | McCullough 9 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Sam Timmins (Nuggets) - 10 votes
Todd Withers (Nuggets) - 5 votes
Zane Najdawi (Jets) - 5 votes
Tahjere McCall (Nuggets) - 5 votes
Rob Crawford (Jets) - 3 votes
Nathaniel Salmon (Jets) - 2 votes
Jets - May 29 @ Wellington Saints
Nuggets - May 27 @ Southland Sharks