The Property Brokers Manawatu Jets have registered a thrilling 99-98 win over the Mike Pero Nelson Giants in yet another close contest that left the crowd and viewers on the edge of their seats.
The Jets got off to a flying start and tested the Giants early, especially heading into the quarter-time break when they went on a 9-0 run to lead 26-19.
Jayden Bezzant, Daishon Knight and DeAndre Daniels were all running hot, a good sign for the Jets as they desperately try to turn their season around after a 0-5 start.
Tom Ingham landed a deep triple on the run for the home team to just beat the half-time buzzer, reducing the margin to five points.
Though the second quarter belonged to the Giants 31-29, the 55 points scored by the Jets for the half was their biggest first-half haul for the season, an ominous sign.
A 16-9 start to the third period by the Jets forced the Giants into a time-out as they discussed a way to limit leaking points. Daniels was doing a stellar job off the glass, while Bezzant was continuing to nail his shots at a high clip.
However, as we have seen in many games already this season, the chasing team got on a run, in fact it was a 13-3 run by the Giants to finish the third period and claw their way back into the contest.
Hunter Hale opened the last quarter with a triple to level the scores and complete a 13-point comeback, bringing the Trafalgar Centre crowd to their feet. At that point it looked like the Giants might overrun their visitors.
At one stage during a frantic last period the Giants skipped to an 85-80 lead, and for a fleeting moment an exciting win was there for the taking.
But the game was far from done.
With the win up for grabs, the last minute belonged to Jayden Bezzant - firstly with a pair of makes from the charity stripe, where he was a perfect 6/6 for the night, followed by an incredible triple under pressure. It put the Jets up 97-92 with less than half a minute to play.
But the drama didn't stop there. Nic Trathen nailed a three with just over 6-seconds to play, reducing the margin to 2 points. A quick Jets time-out was followed by a Giants foul sending that man Bezzant to the line where he calmy nailed both opportunities to leave his team leading 99-95.
Trathen stepped up again with a long bomb on the buzzer, but it left his team out of time and just shy of a miracle win.
For the Jets it was their second win for the season, and a really good one at that. Bezzant was the star with 30 points at 71%. He was very ably supported by Daniels and Knight.
For the Giants a lot fell on the shoulders of Hunter Hale and Donte Ingram, and they were brilliant, but on this ocassion it wasn't enough.
The Jets now head home to host the Bulls, a winnable game that could help turn their season around.
For the Giants, they have a few days to regroup and prepare for a showdown back at home with the Airs, a game they simply cannot afford to let slip.
Nelson Giants (98) lost to Manawatu Jets (99) - BOXSCORE
Giants: Donte Ingram (26pts, 10rbs, 6stl), Hunter Hale (27pts, 10rbs, 5 treys).
Jets: Jayden Bezzant (30pts), DeAndre Daniels (21pts, 15rbs), Daishon Knight (19pts, 8ast).
Stuff MVP Votes
Jayden Bezzant (Jets) 10
DeAndre Daniels (Jets) 8
Donte Ingram (Giants) 6
Daishon Knight (Jets) 3
Hunter Hale (Giants) 3
(Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ)