The Taranaki Airs have snapped the Otago Nuggets' five-game winning streak with an epic come-from-behind 96-83 win in front of their home fans.
Javonte Douglas was the hero on the night with 26 PTS - including 19 in the 4th – and 8 rebounds, alongside Anthony Hilliard's 29 points and 9 rebounds. The Airs also relied on 16 points and 5 assists from Carlin Davison and 10 points, 11 and 5 steals rebounds from Tai Wynyard; their bench coming up empty with only 6 points on 1-7 shooting.
Keith Williams paced the Nuggets with 28 points and 7 rebounds. Nikau McCollough chipped in with 19 points (4-9 from downtown) while Sam Timmins had a 14/11 double-double and Todd Withers had 9 and 12.
The first quarter saw the visitors firmly in control; the Nuggets taking a 22-16 lead thanks to the hot shooting of import Keith Richards and point guard Nikau McCullough, with Javonte Douglas keeping the Airs in the thick of things with 7 points.
The Airs clawed their way back in the second, going on a 10-0 run to take their first lead of the game – a layup by big Tai Wynyard – with six minutes to go. Anthony Hilliard was the hero of this quarter with an impressive 13 points, including 3 triples. The lead changed hands several times before the Nuggets ended the half on a 8-0 run, going up 46-40 at the break.
The Airs regained the lead midway through the third quarter, thanks to a 4-point play from Carlin Davison. They’d stay ahead by the slimmest of margins - 66-65 heading into the fourth.
The Airs were able to extend their lead in the fourth with 10 straight points from Douglas, including a pair of triples; he ended up with 19 in the quarter and 26 overall, teaming up with Hilliard to dominate the Nuggets late in the game to pick up their third win of the season.
The win moves the Airs into the top six with a 3-3 record, while the Nuggets fall to 5-3 but remain near the top of the table as they head into Round Six.
SCORE: Airs 96, Nuggets 83
Airs: Douglas 26 PTS & 8 REB & 3 ASS | Hilliard 29 PTS & 9 REB | Davison 16 PTS & 4 REB & 5 ASS | Wynyard 10 PTS & 11 REB & 5 STL | Rodger 9 PTS & 3 REB & 4 ASS
Nuggets: Williams 28 PTS & 7 REB | McCullough 19 PTS | Timmins 14 PTS & 11 REB & 2 BLK | Withers 9 PTS & 12 REB & 2 BLK | McCall 7 PTS & 4 REB & 6 ASS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Anthony Hilliard (Airs) - 10 votes
Javonte Douglas (Airs) - 8 votes
Keith Williams (Nuggets) - 6 votes
Carlin Davison (Airs) - 2 votes
Nikau McCullough (Nuggets) - 2 votes
Tai Wynyard (Airs) - 1 vote
Sam Timmins (Nuggets) - 1 vote
Airs – 5 June vs. Wellington Saints
Nuggets – 4 June vs. Nelson Giants